Steve Coogan is famous for a lot of things, from writing and starring in Philomena to doing spot-on impressions with Rob Brydon on The Trip, but easily his crowning achievement is Alan Partridge, one of Britain’s most iconic comic creations. Partridge’s life began as a supporting character on satirical news shows like On the Hour and The Day Today, but it didn’t take long for the BBC to recognize spin-off potential.
North Norfolk’s most recognizable broadcaster got his own talk show, Knowing Me, Knowing You, before the pretense of a show-within-a-show was dropped and viewers got an inside look at Alan’s dysfunctional personal life in I’m Alan Partridge, one of the greatest sitcoms ever made.
12 I Know What Alan Did Last Summer (8.3)
While it’s rated as the worst episode of I’m Alan Partridge, “I Know What Alan Did Last Summer” still has a pretty impressive IMDb score. The first half of the episode is a lampoon of the taxman as Alan tries to get through an audit knowing full well that he’s “guilty as hell” of tax fraud.
In the second half, Alan’s U2-obsessed girlfriend Sonja asks him to prove that he’s really friends with Bono like he claims by taking her to his house, so he takes her to a National Trust site.
11 A Room With An Alan (8.4)
The first episode of the series, “A Room with an Alan” follows on from Alan’s disastrous antics in Knowing Me, Knowing Yule, the Christmas special of his chat show in which he punched the director of BBC programming in the face on live television.
He meets with that same executive for lunch in the hopes of scoring a second season of Knowing Me, Knowing You. After being rejected, he has a meltdown with some cheese.
10 Alan Wide Shut (8.4)
In the series finale “Alan Wide Shut,” the builders finally finish work on Alan’s new house, Lynn gets baptized, and the unsold copies of Alan’s book Bouncing Back are pulped.
The episode is filled with classic moments, like Alan contending with a fellow author on a Christian radio show and Rob Brydon insulting his ability to tell anecdotes.
9 The Talented Mr. Alan (8.4)
The season 2 premiere “The Talented Mr. Alan” catches up with Alan a few years later. He’s living in a caravan while his house is being built, he’s got a Ukrainian girlfriend named Sonja, and he’s now got a slightly better timeslot than Dave Clifton.
But it’s still the same old Alan. He gives a self-indulgent talk at his alma mater, presents car crash compilations on VHS, and threatens his high school bully with a freshly microwaved apple turnover.
8 Alan Attraction (8.6)
Lynn tells Alan that without a second series commission from the BBC (and without downgrading to a Mini Metro), he’ll need to shut down his production company and let all his employees go. So, he goes down there and tells them they’ve got a second season before hiding away and revealing the truth on the intercom.
Then, he invites Jill, the secretary he’s always had a crush on (who missed the bad news), to an owl sanctuary to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Seeing Alan Partridge trying to woo a lady is peak cringe comedy.
7 Basic Alan (8.6)
While the travel tavern is being renovated, Alan finds himself consumed by boredom in “Basic Alan.” He fills his time by buying tungsten-tipped screws, driving around the ring road, and bothering Lynn.
When he catches the staff of the travel tavern making fun of him behind his back, Alan tries to retaliate by dressing up as a zombie in a practical joke that backfires instantly.
6 Towering Alan (8.6)
In the season 1 finale “Towering Alan,” the BBC commissioning editor who rejected Alan’s series ideas dies suddenly and he’s replaced by a rare TV executive that actually likes Alan.
When he’s offered a five-year contract, Alan throws a party in his room at the travel tavern and invites the staff. The party goes as well as one might expect from a party hosted by Alan Partridge in a modest-sized hotel room.
5 Brave Alan (8.7)
Alan is convinced he’s found a new best friend when he meets Dan, who is eerily similar to him: they both call things “sa-a-a-ad,” they both drink Director’s Bitter, they both read the Daily Mail, they both use the same plural for Lexus — it seems like a match made in heaven.
However, after hosting an awards ceremony honoring Norfolk’s bravest citizens, Alan goes back to Dan’s house and finds out that he and his wife are swingers looking to hook up with Alan and Lynn.
4 The Color Of Alan (8.7)
There are a ton of great moments in “The Color of Alan,” from Michael moving into Alan’s unfinished house after his front door is stolen to Alan mishearing the South African pronunciation of the word “can’t.”
But easily the most memorable moment in this episode is when Alan pierces his foot on a spike. The comic tone is pitch-black, especially for this show, but it works beautifully.
3 Watership Alan (8.9)
In the opening radio broadcast in “Watership Alan,” Alan offends the local farming community, then continues to double down when farmers call in to complain. This coincides with Alan taking a job hosting an ad for a water break company.
The production is marred by constant delays, like the actor playing Alan’s wife pulling out to appear in The Bill, culminating in a hilarious slapstick moment that dovetails the two storylines: while Alan is filming on a boat going under a bridge, some farmers on the bridge above drop a dead cow on top of him.
2 Never Say Alan Again (9.0)
Alan plans to spend his bank holiday weekend binge-watching the Bond movies with Michael in “Never Say Alan Again,” but the marathon keeps getting delayed. At the end of the episode, Lynn accidentally pours Sunny D all over Alan’s 007 movie collection and Michael arrives with The Spy Who Loved Me, but his friend has taped over it.
So, Alan decides to perform the movie himself. He takes them all through the sequence with the Union Jack parachute jump before singing Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” and dancing around the caravan to re-enact the opening credits.
1 To Kill A Mocking Alan (9.1)
Alan meets his biggest fan in “To Kill a Mocking Alan.” While he’s speaking to two Irish TV executives about possibly presenting a show for them (and blowing his chances by insulting their country), Alan is accosted by a fan named Jed who goes along with the lie that they live together.
They all go back to Jed’s house, where Alan finds a terrifying shrine to himself. After Jed tries to hold him hostage, Alan manages to escape to a nearby field in a hysterical Steadicam tracking shot.
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