Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge (BBC2, 1994-1995)
After taking a look back at the sitcom I’m Alan Partridge recently, now it’s time for a look at the chat show parody Knowing Me Knowing You which was hosted by this terrific character played by Steve Coogan. The show originally ran on Radio 4 from 1992-1993, and featured Alan interviewing his guests as only he could really. I never heard this first time round but it has been repeated recently on BBC7/Radio 4 Extra and it was great stuff. Even having a Lord expire on Alan whilst he was asking him an important question couldn’t shake his confidence. Now that was a big bombshell to end the series on. After a one-off look behind the scenes called Knowing Knowing Me Knowing You in 1993, the show was transferred to BBC2 in 1994.
Alan finally gets his own TV show! He would start every show by running on stage and talking to bandleader Glen Ponder, although it was rather clear that they didn’t get on. Then Alan would interview his guests, most of them were played by Coogan’s fellow The Day Today cast members including Patrick Marber and Rebecca Front who also took part in the radio version and there was a great range of characters.
Most of the guests were parodies of famous people including Chris Evans and Michael Winner, but out of all of them Alan was most looking forward to interviewing his favourite actor Roger Moore but unfortunately he was stuck in traffic. Oh, very disappointing. Alan would also often upset his guests by doing things like revealing that they’ve got a hairy back or shooting them in the stomach. Other people took part too including terrible ventriloquists and other people called Alan Partridge, and there was also a special that came from France, where Alan tried (and failed) to tie the bonds of the two countries closer together.
Alan did return though for a big-budget Christmas cracker of a special in 1995. But this turned out to be the final show as it was a directionless shambles, resulting in Alan punching the nearest person to him in frustration as everything went wrong and so practically handing in his notice right in front of everyone and finishing off his not very promising TV career. He did eventually bounce back though. Needless to say, he had the last laugh.
This really was one of the best comedy shows of its era and pleasingly the DVD release is very good. Each episode is about five minutes longer than the original TV broadcast version, so we get even more jokes. There are also some good extras including some trails for the show that were made at the time and part of an unaired pilot that was also very enjoyable.
Best of all though is the commentary which is one of the funniest that I have heard, featuring writer and producer Armando Iannucci alongside some cast members revealing some interesting information about working on the show and just endlessly laughing at what was happening on the screen and it was all very entertaining. Alan couldn’t join them though sadly because he had bats.
Knowing Me Knowing You is easily as good as I’m Alan Partridge and the show was also nominated for some awards. Steve Coogan and indeed all of his fellow cast members were great and it’s remarkable to think that this show is over 20 years old now. Watching back you really do feel that Norfolk’s finest should’ve been given a second series.