Radio Memories – Knowing Me Knowing You.

Knowing Me Knowing You (BBC Radio 4, 1992-1993)

After dazzling listeners with his in-depth sport coverage and analysis in the series On The Hour (and I’ll review that one soon too), Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) confirmed his place as the pride of Norwich when he was given his own spin-off chat show by BBC Radio 4, an opportunity that he simply grasped with great relish, or something. Knowing Me Knowing You was a reference to the Abba song of course, but the opening theme was a cover version, presumably they were holding out for too much money.

Alan would meet a variety of guests (who were all played by regular cast members including Rebecca Front and Patrick Marber), and he wasn’t afraid to ask them the awkward questions. He would also make all of them do the greeting that ended with “ah-ha” (and indeed every guest was introduced by an Abba song too). Whether they were novelists, impressionists, politicians, or even ex-hostages, Alan will often say the wrong thing, leading to the show ending on a rather remarkable bombshell. ap

There was one thing that clearly come through in this show, which was that Alan would rather be doing this on the TV, there was no doubt about that. There was even an edition that came live from Las Vegas, that’s in America. The critics were very keen to heap praise on Alan’s style, and the studio audience definitely enjoyed him too, he soon realised that he was clearly on the up.

And if Alan can still broadcast efficiently even after a guest has gone and keeled over and has to have his dignity retained thanks to a hastily improvised Pringle shroud, then it was clear that he could definitely face the challenges of being on TV. There were only six editions of Knowing Me Knowing You, and after this, there was the one-off special Knowing Knowing Me Knowing You, which took a look behind the scenes and revealed plenty of secrets about how to put a high-profile show together.

In 1994, there was some good news for Alan though when they finally let him on the TV, firstly providing some more sport coverage in The Day Today, and then his chat show did make the big transfer. That didn’t stop Alan from irritating his guests (or even shooting them). Oh well, at least he did have his brief moment of fame on the TV, although he soon realised that it wasn’t all it’s shown to be and went back off to star on the radio in various late-night slots.

The Comedy Vault – Knowing Me Knowing You.

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. vlcsnap-01265

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. vlcsnap-01266

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. vlcsnap-01264

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. vlcsnap-01267

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. vlcsnap-01268

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.