We went to Sky Atlantic's comedy launch this morning (they're not all about the glossy US imports, don'tcha know), and were pleased to see that among the British comedy talent who'll get new shows in the next few months, was a certain mid-morning disc jockey from Norwich.
Alan Partridge, whom actor Steve Coogan and writer/producer Armando Iannucci (who was also there to talk about his new US political satire, Veep) reminded the audience at the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill, has been around for 20 years now, will appear in three programmes this summer. First up in June is Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places of my Life, in which Alan takes us on heartfelt tour around his home-town and region of East Anglia, "the Wales of the East".
Then comes Alan Partridge on Open Books with Martin Bryce in July, in which he talks through his literary interests and achievements - which, from the clip we saw, involved insightful amendments to Radio Norwich press releases. And finally, also in July, is Alan Partridge Mid Morning Matters: Special Edition, which is the one we're most looking forward to - a documentary-style look at a Partridge-at-work at at North Norfolk Digital radio (yup, even Alan's foregone analogue).
Should you want more than just Partridge in your diet, other shows previewed this morning for the channel included Russell Brand's grainy deconstructed stand-up show Brand X (July), Julia "Nighty Night" Davis's twisted period drama comedy Hunderby (August) and Adam "Adam and Joe" Buxton's BUG, an adaptation of his long-running pop-vids-and-chat nights at the BFI on London's Southbank (July). Sky Atlantic is obviously going after the left-field commissioning and comedic experimentation and once championed by the likes of Channel 4, but with the budgets and muscle of Sky to bring in established writing and acting talent. British TV comedy commissioners could have a serious - and hopefully fruitful - fight on their hands.
Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places of my Life premieres as part of Sky Atlantic HD's new comedy Mondays from 25 June at 9pm; the other two shows follow in July. skyatlantic.sky.com