Between the showbiz parodies of SCTV and the anchorman toolishness of Ron Burgundy, there is a missing link of media satire—missing for Americans who don’t frequent British TV, that is. This step on the evolutionary scale goes by the name Alan Partridge, a broadcast personality with a remarkably unctuous, maladroit style. As embodied in Steve Coogan’s reptilian performance, Alan combines an unshakable and unwarranted vanity with a staggering level of self-interest. He’s a man who’d gladly throw elbows in the direction of women and children who happened to stray into his path to the lifeboats.
Hatched over 20 years ago as a radio character, Alan’s had his shot as a national TV host (which, among other mortifications, resulted in his killing a talk-show guest). At the present stage of his well-traveled career, he’s a DJ at a small-time radio station in Norwich.