This Time (BBC1, 2019-present)
Alan Partridge, who is of course the greatest comedy character in the world ever, has now been around on various radio and TV shows for almost three decades. The last time we saw him, he was having some trouble at a small-time north Norfolk radio station in Mid Morning Matters, but at least he was still in the business, and he had never given up on his dream of returning to TV.
His previous TV show in the mid-90s Knowing Me Knowing You ended in something of a mishap. A big opportunity then suddenly opens up for Alan when the regular male host of This Time becomes unwell, and he is asked to stand in. He doesn’t turn this down, This Time (which was rather similar to The One Show) was live, came from a big shiny studio, and contained all kinds of interviews and features. It might seem a little redundant doing a parody of this kind of thing, but they had a go.
Alan joins the regular female host Jennie, who is much younger, and it ends up being something of a clash of styles. Alan always asked awkward questions to the guests in the studio, and he also liked to go off on one, which would end up causing chaos with the running order, honestly, you can just imagine how much the production team were shouting in his earpiece by this point.
Also featuring was Alan’s old sidekick Simon (bid again, Simon!) who would tell us about all of the latest comments that were coming in from viewers, or he would if the technology worked. While reports are being shown, we also get a look behind the scenes, including Alan having a talk with his loyal PR Lynn (I thought that he had long since dispensed of her services, but clearly not).
By the final edition of the series, Alan and Jennie have a falling out, meaning that at very short notice Simon becomes the co-host. Despite all this, Alan is considered to become the full-time host after his predecessor was unable to return. It seems that This Time has been given a second series (and we know how pleased Alan is when he is given a second series), and as the show was well-received it’ll be interesting to see how this one continues to develop.
The first series of This Time has been released on DVD, and extras include a short rehearsal. It is one of the most recent shows that I have added to my DVD collection, and I hope that there will still be many more to come as it’s my favourite way to preserve and watch archive TV, I don’t believe that this format can be considered to be obsolete just yet can it.