Knowing Me Knowing Yule With Alan Partridge (BBC2, 1995)
After the success (it concluded with only one guest being shot) of Knowing Me Knowing You in 1994, Alan Partridge returned a year later for a 45-minute long Christmas special edition of his chat show. And as it was also coming live from a studio replica of his house, there looked little doubt that it was going to be a right old knees-up for everyone.
There were lots of invited guests who were ready to take part, and Alan’s bandleader Glen Ponder was ready with his keyboard as well. Alan particularly enjoyed talking to the outrageous chef Fanny Thomas but found the constant innuendo rather irritating, he also told us the rather sad story of keen golfers Gordon and Liz Heron, and Alan was very pleased to have BBC bigwig Tony Hayers on the programme.
As well as this, there were several special moments, including an exploding giant cracker, a quick insight into Alan’s fascinating life (including a trip to Tandy to check how nice the action is on CD players), and there was also a memorably shambolic performance of “The 12 Days Of Christmas” which was abandoned halfway through, which leads to one of my favourite moments of the show when a clearly irritated Alan says “There’s still 28 people waiting backstage!”.
Unfortunately it gets worse for Alan after he falls out with Fanny, bickers with the bellringers in the background, and ends up punching Hayers with a turkey right in front of everyone. By the end of the programme when special guest Mick Hucknall comes on to conclude things with a performance of “Ding Dong Merrily On High”, it becomes clear to Alan that his reputation is in tatters.
Rather memorably, a couple of years later Alan tries to patch up things with Hayers but he is ultimately told that there are no plans for a second series of Knowing Me Knowing You, and all of his other bizarre TV programme ideas are similarly rejected. This means that Alan has to realise that his time in the magic rectangle is up and he now has to go on the local radio circuit to continue his career, talking to elderly people in Norwich in the small hours. Honestly, it’s such a waste of talent.
Knowing Me Knowing Yule was a great Christmas comedy special, I remember watching it at the time and it’s still very funny 20 years on. Steve Coogan was having a very successful time in the mid-90s, with his other work including Paul Calf and the sketch show Coogan’s Run also being terrific and it really is a delight seeing such a great group of comic actors (most of them having also appeared in the classic The Day Today) on top form.