Alan Partridge: Welcome To The Places of My Life Review
I’ve always had Alan Patridge pegged as a dead ringer for the old-school Radio 1 DJ Simon Bates. Now a presenter for Smooth FM, Bates has a penchant for the floaty, inoffensive sounds of The Lighthouse Family and engaging in tedious politically incorrect rants — all spewed, of course, in his absurd trademark radio voice.
The similarity in Alan’s latest outing, Welcome to the Places of My Life, is even stronger than it’s been in previous programmes. Somehow he seems a little different: more over the top and angrier.
In one scene we see him arguing that lollypop ladies should be stripped of their services, explaining that only the military and traffic lights should command such power over the roads.
It’s pure Bates, although Alan insists that his style of ranting is uniquely his.
“Sting described it as ‘conversational’,” he says at the start of the programme, “but Ross Kemp nailed it when he said it was equidistant between chit-chat and analysis.”
From the headquarters of North Norfolk Digital, Alan is about to embark on something he calls “a pilgrimartridge” or “a partrimiligrimage”: a journey around the places that have defined him over the years.
First he goes to Riverside Leisure Centre, a building with a controversial sloped roof. There he struggles to conduct an interview in the swimming pool and shows us his attempt at butterfly stroke, which he admits might look ridiculous to people who don’t know anything about swimming.
After a stop off at his favourite Islamic newsagents, Alan then tries his hand at selling fruit at a stall in the local market, where another influence behind his character presents itself. Dismissing the job as “menial work”, Partridge breaks into a fantastically sinister Alistair Stewart-style exposé into a fruit stall owner, who he claims is “living on the very fringes of society”.
The camera zooms into the man’s face as Alan ponders where the man would be without his fruit business: “Selling stolen Teletubbies filled with soiled tampons?”
We also see Alan test drive a new Land Rover, which he insist isn’t featured in the programme so the Land Rover give him a free one. It’s during these scenes where we find out what this somewhat angrier Alan does to chill out.
After a call from Lynn (who isn’t seen by the way), he lets of steam by taking the Land Rover off road in his friend Pete’s field, where he repeatedly does doughnuts to Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping’.
All of this is hilarious, as you’d rightly expect from Partridge, although, as I mentioned above, I can’t help thinking that there’s just something different aboutthe self-proclaimed “homo-sceptic”. He’s not quite the same character from I’m Alan Partridge — or even Mid-Morning Matters. Perhaps, as he’s aging, he’s becoming angrier, more like Simon Bates?
With that said, it’s still an essential hour of comedy for Partridge fans, packed full of very quotable Partridgisms.