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.
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.