A strange thing happens when you start watching Steve Coogan in his (excellent) new film, Philomena. About half way in, you realise you haven't thought of Alan Partridge once.
It's not just that the film is so well written, or that Judi Dench is turning in her usual Oscar-worthy performance, it's that Coogan himself has finally learned how to act without shades of Alan's voice or mannerisms creeping in. Ah-ha!
It's a landmark for the comic who has always harboured – and made fun of – his ambitions to be a 'serious actor'.
Here, we chart Coogan's progress in de-Alan-ing himself over a series of key performances from the past ten years, starting with The Parole Officer (that had Alan in abundance) and ending on Philomena which, interestingly, was immediately preceded by the out-and-out Alan attack of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.
Our findings? That doing a 'full Alan' was what probably what Coogan needed to shake off his creation all along.