10 Behind-The-Scenes Stories From Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

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The big screen debut of Alan Partridge is on general release as of next week, but don't worry – it's actually rather bloody good.

We spoke with the men behind-the-scenes of Alpha Papa, director Declan Lowney and writing duo Rob and Neil Gibbons, to find out some behind-the-scenes titbits. Namely: how the film came to be, what happened on set and why Michael the Geordie might just be the biggest comedian of them all... (WARNING: does contain a couple of tiny spoilers)
 

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1 | PRETENDING TO BE ALAN FOR 9 MONTHS ISN’T GOOD FOR YOU
“It was us, Steve and Armando sat in a room doing Alan’s voice, testing out jokes. After a while you start to sort of become Alan. I found a documentary on my Sky Plus the other day called The Golden Age of Trams, which was worrying..." (RG)

2 | A LOT OF THE SCRIPT WAS WRITTEN ON THE SPOT
"It was very hard for a director – you’d wake up some days to discover they’d written four or five new scenes. By two weeks in, Steve was insisting on rewriting every scene the night before, which meant the actors didn’t have their pages. He and the writers would be tweaking the script during takes, never mind inbetween them. But the film is better for it." (DL)

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3 | ALAN NEARLY HAD AN ‘ARNIE MOMENT’
"One idea early on was this big sequence in a shop where Alan lays booby traps as he’s chased by a gunman, using his extensively knowledge of BP garage minimarts. It was going to be like Schwarzenegger in the jungle. It didn’t earn its place in the end." (NG)

4 | …AND ALMOST MET SOME HIPSTERS
"In the original script, at the start of the film, Alan is invited to the BBC to pitch some ideas. He’s delighted and prepares massively. But when he gets there, he walks into a massive room with 100s of people in it who had all been invited… he misread the invitation it was just an open day. And then he drowns in front of all these cool, relevant, Hoxton-types." (NG)

5 | COOGAN TAKES THIS SHIT SERIOUSLY
"He’s very focused on set, very focused on being Alan. He is the custodian of the Partridge legacy, he has to be so careful not to ruin that. He’s in and out of character though, he’s not methody or anything. But the big thing for Steve was never ever letting the fans down by doing something that wasn’t true to his character. It’s a lot of pressure." (DL)

6 | PEOPLE LOVE LYNN
“Lynn – Felicity Montagu – is fantastic. She doesn’t look anything like Lynn until she puts on the hair and the make up and those cheap, weird dresses. She gets the most love at screenings.” (DL)

7 | PARTIDGE FANS ARE HARDCORE
"They are die-hard fuckers. Steve was mobbed in Norwich. We were trying to shoot the scene of the road show bus going through town with the police chasing it but we couldn’t because we had students banging on the windows the whole time."

8 | FILMING HAD ITS SHAKY MOMENTS
"The scene where Alan falls out of the window and loses his trousers was filmed so quickly. I remember thinking ‘this is a fucking mess’. But it came out as a great scene and gets one of the biggest laughs in the whole film. You never really know until the edit."

9 | MICHAEL THE GEORDIE IS A COMIC GENIUS IN REAL LIFE, TOO
"In the scene when Michael jumps off the pier, it was a stunt man really. The actor [Simon Greenall] just shouted ‘argh’. But months after the film was shot, he asked to redo the line, and that’s where his mid-air ‘Oh shit!’ came from. No one thought of it on the day, and it was twenty times funnier."

10 | HE’LL BE BACK …AND HE MAY GO ON HOLIDAY
“There’s another series of Midmorning Matters on the way, and there’s talk of another book. But what we’d really like to do is take Alan abroad. We always said we wouldn’t take Alan to America, but I am sure we’ll end up taking him to America… (RG)

“Yeah, I’d like to see Alan go to Hong Kong and enter a martial arts contest against all the best martial artists in the world… basically Blood Sport. Only Alan would be doing Judo…” (NG)