The main character of the series, Alan, a former host on Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge on BBC television, was dismissed from the BBC partly for punching Chief Commissioning Editor Tony Hayers in the face with a stuffed partridge and partly because his programmes were of a low standard, delivering ever-declining ratings. In series one he is divorced from his wife Carol, lives in the Linton Travel Tavern and is reduced to working the graveyard shift on Radio Norwich whilst desperately trying to get back on television in any capacity.
Abusive Parents: Parodied. He claims this in his autobiography, but he's clearly trying to cash in on the trend of 'misery lit' and the incidents he describes are clearly utterly normal. If anything, his parents seem to have been boring.
Ambiguously Gay: Alanís sexuality is a topic of much contention. He describes himself as a 'homo-skeptic' but has lately become more accepting (if not entirely politically correct). He actually pens a rather touching (for him, anyway) chapter in his self-serving autobiography about his friendship with Glen Ponder. At the same time, he displays both homophobic and homosexual tendencies.
Bad Boss: He's too much of a coward to tell his production staff that he didn't get a second series, instead choosing to gradually fire them for ridiculous reasons at random. He doesn't tell his secretary she's been fired so he can date her, and later announces she was sacked on the radio.
The Bully: Toward Lynn and Phillip Schofield. He frequently belittles Lynn's appearance and usefulness despite relying on her for everything and never shows a shred of gratitude. With Phillip Schofield, he refers to having bullied him with his colleagues during his younger days, which included filling his shoes with piss.
Freudian Excuse: In what little we've learnt about it (and keeping in mind Alan's obvious Unreliable Narrator tendencies), he doesn't appear to have had a particularly happy upbringing.
Hidden Depths: Played with; Alan is an incredibly shallow and superficial person with a largely empty personal life, but there are occasionally hints about his backstory that go some way towards explaining why this is.
Hypocrite: He's a relentless suck-up to the BBC but curses them with every other breath. He has no problem selling out his principles for a little extra piece of temporary fame.
Hypno Fool: He's hypnotized on one of his shows, inadvertantly reliving a past bullying incident.
Jaded Washout: He would never admit it, but he's still incredibly bitter about his failed career at the BBC.
Jerkass: As part of his smarmy persona, and even moreso in private.
Jerkass Woobie: In Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and occassionally elsewhere in the series. Of particular note is his appearance in the one-off special 'Welcome to the Places of My Life' where it's heavily implied that he just manages to dodge a terminal illness. He becomes slightly more introspective and self-pitying.
Smarmy Host: Especially towards his attractive female guests.
Stupid Boss: He disregards Lynn's often sensible advice, in one case refusing to switch from his current car to a mini-metro to save his production company and responding to this suggestion with, 'I'll just talk over you' and proceeds to do just that.
Took a Level in Kindness: Has become a very slightly better person by the end of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. He still does plenty of nasty things but seems to feel a bit of guilt and actually has a couple of moments of empathy with others. Helping him is that there an even nastier figure like Jason Cresswell around.
Unreliable Narrator: This is particularly strong in his autobiography, I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan. He goes off-topic, forgets his initial points, contradicts himself, always assumes people are out to get him, boasts about mistakes he doesnít realize heís made and outright lies about situations the reader knows about first-hand.
He does it whilst daydreaming in Alpha Papa, too. "It's Jason AND THE Argonauts!".
Played By: Felicity Montagu
Alan's hard-working, long-suffering, personal assistant, Lynn appears to run Alan's life to such an extent that he cannot survive without her organisational skills; despite this, he usually treats her with little more than contempt. Besides dealing with Alan's working-life, Lynn's other duties range from the banal to the truly ridiculous ó accompanying Alan to visit a show home, buying medicinal powder for Alan's fungal foot infections, cooling Alan with a hand-fan, and frequently listening patiently to Alan's pointless conversations and endless whining.Lynn is a member of a local Baptist church, which Alan finds strange but is willing to tolerate. Her mother, with whom Lynn possibly lives, is apparently housebound, but Lynn seems able to balance her life between looking after her mother's affairs and those of Alan. When accompanying Alan, Lynn appears inhibited by him, but seems capable of easily blending into social situations when Alan is not present. Despite her intense and frequently ludicrous workload, Lynn receives a paltry £8,000 per year, due to Alan's greedy penny-pinching.
All Love Is Unrequited: Implied for Alan. There's little other reason for her to stick around, and she shows some jealousy of Alan's secretary Jill.
Badass: When Alan jumps out to scare her, she counter-attacks very well.
Butt Monkey: Her life revolves around taking care of a man who shows no gratitude, works her very hard, shows no concern for her wellbeing and pays her very little.
Extreme Doormat: She's at Alan's beck and call, and he treats her terribly.
Hypercompetent Sidekick: She's the only reason Alan gets work at all; if he were negotiating himself, he'd get nowhere.
Moment Killer: Tries to be this between Alan and his secretary Jill, but he's such a social disaster that there wasn't much of a moment to kill.
Played By: David Scheider
The Chief Commissioning Editor for BBC Television. He wasn't a huge fan of Alan to begin with, which made Alan punching him with a frozen chicken live on television and then assaulting him with some cheese after being informed his show wasn't going to be recommissioned something of a mistake on Alan's part.
Death by Irony: A guest at his funeral notes that he spent his professional life in television, only to die while trying to fix a TV aerial. Alan finds this observation to be very impressive.
Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Alan says he'll do this in his book, but then goes on to talk about how pathetic and horrible Tony was, even saying he was overjoyed at his death.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Although Alan doesn't view him as such, and he's a bit tougher than he maybe needs to be, Tony gives good reasons for not giving Alan a second series. He does so in a tactful way, which is especially admirable considering Alan punched him in the face with a turkey.
Sit Com Arch Nemesis: To Alan, of course, although Hayers tries not to engage when Alan becomes aggressive.
Played By: N/A
Alan's ex-wife. He hasn't quite managed to get over their divorce.
The Unseen: She's only ever referenced by other characters, and has never made an on-screen appearance.
An all-purpose worker at the Linton Travel Tavern, Michael speaks with a heavy Geordie accent, which Alan barely understands (or claims not to) and, being Alan, never fails to demand clarification. Michael is arguably Alan's only friend, and Alan is glad of his presence when he needs to have a heart-to-heart or, more often, inane chat; their friendship is clearly not on an even basis, however, as Michael only ever refers to Alan as 'Mr. Partridge' and Alan clearly regards Michael with a great deal of disdain. Michael is almost as desperate and neurotic a character as Alan, and is very emotionally disturbed (shown most clearly when Alan looks out of his room window to see Michael tearing at his hair in a state of some distress).Michael frequently tells stories of his time in the British army, to the delight of Alan, especially if they are of a salacious or violent nature. During a period of military placement in the Philippines, Michael married a Filipino woman, and the two moved back to Michael's native Newcastle upon Tyne. However, his wife left him and now lives with his brother in Sunderland, possibly shedding light on the origins of Michael's neuroticism.
Ax-Crazy: Displayed most prominently in his extended monologue about his desire to steal a helicopter, fly it over the house of someone he knows, kill him and commit suicide by flying into the sea.
Michael: Me, I'd, I-I-I'd have an, an Apache attack helicopter.
Alan: Oh, great.
Michael: Aye. I'd gan back to school. But first I'd take out the labs and then I'd type into the attack computer 'Mr Cragg, chemistry teacher'. Blow 'im to bits.
The Unintelligible: A mild example. His Geordie accent can be difficult to understand, especially when he speaks fast, and Alan often points this out. Eventually he grows to understand Michael a little more.
Sanity Slippage: He appears a bit more put-together during initial appearances, but it soon becomes clear just how crazy he actually is.
Senseless Sacrifice: When trying to save Alan from Pat, Michael bewilderingly jumps off a pier into the ocean. It's unclear if this was a diversion or an escape strategy, and merely serves to confuse Pat and Alan.
Dave is a Radio Norwich DJ who runs the programme right after Alan's "graveyard slot" show. During the handover every morning, Alan always tries to engage in witty banter with Dave, but their chatting fails to disguise the bitter rivalry between them. Dave is an alcoholic and has a driving ban, according to Alan. Much to Alan's surprise and chagrin, Dave is a friend of Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley.
Butt Monkey: He was found by Alan in an unsuccessful pub band, where he was often mugged after shows since it was his job to collect change on the floor. From there, it somehow gets worse: Alan fires him, they end up sueing and counter-sueing each other for years which cripples him financially and forces him to take terrible musician jobs (with arthritic hands) and destroys any joy he once took in his work. And his former band members are still sueing him for unpaid royalties.
Jerkass: He becomes very angry at Alan after he surprises him with an appearance from his son on the show. While Alan should have cleared it with him first, Keith is still somewhat to blame for not remembering his own son's birthday. After this incident, Keith becomes increasingly nasty towards Alan.
While Keith should have remembered his son's birthday, it's the way Alan disregards Keith's custody arrangements with his ex-wife that really makes him angry. First, Alan brought Keith's son onto the show on a day when Keith was legally not allowed to have contact with him. Second, Alan bought Keith's son a surprise trip to Disneyland with his mother and her partner, and scheduled it for the next weekend, which is when Keith was supposed to have his son and celebrate his birthday with him. While Alan didn't know all the details of the Hunts' custody arrangement, he did seem to know enough to keep reminding Keith to keep the legally mandated physical distance from his son.
The manager of the Linton Travel Tavern, Susan appears to be a stereotypical front-desk worker, with a dazzling smile and sickly sweet manner. However, even these forced skills are not enough to deal with Alan's clumsy, half-hearted flirting and mindless anecdotes. Alan frequently makes tactless comments to Susan about her appearance (once suggesting to her that she "could have been throwing up all night" but that her smile would not falter). In reaction to these comments, Susan's painted-on smile is sometimes momentarily replaced by a look of shock and bemusement.
Rant Inducing Slight: At Alan's leaving party when he makes a mild joke at her expense, Susan leaps on the opportunity to tell him what she thinks of him.
Stepford Smiler: Even when she's giving bad news, she has a great big smile.
Alan: What a lovely smile. You know, you could have been throwing up all night for all I know, and yet your smile wouldnít show it. I donít know, perhaps thatís how you keep your figure.
Played By: Sally Phillips
A recently employed receptionist at the Travel Tavern, Sophie is also rarely without a smile; however, in her case it is normally because she is suppressing a laugh over Alan's antics. While Susan brushes off Alan's social faux pas with a smile, Sophie is rarely able to control her laughter at Alan's appalling lack of social skills, and often has to leave reception to prevent laughing in his face. Much to Alan's annoyance, he is sometimes aware that Sophie often jokes about him behind his back.
Ben is another member of staff at the Travel Tavern and Sophie's boyfriend. Alan is jealous of Ben's romance with Sophie, and does his best to sabotage their romantic trysts. In later episodes, Alan attempts to forge a friendship with Ben, despite Alan's earlier irritation at Ben's informal and somewhat laid-back manner. Predictably, Alan's attempts to befriend Ben are clumsy and unsuccessful.
Alan's thick-accented Ukrainian girlfriend. Sonja, who is fourteen years Alan's junior, possesses a very excitable, scatterbrained personality which leads Alan to describe her as 'mildly cretinous'. Easily amused, she delights greatly in pulling lame practical jokes and showering Alan with cheap (and unwanted) gifts such as London souvenirs and personalised coffee mugs and cushions emblazoned with their faces. She is very devoted to Alan and clearly treasures him, although he demonstrates little genuine affection for her in return and clearly bases their relationship around the ego-boost produced by their age difference and the sex.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: A veteran DJ and widower who is callously fired by his heartless new bosses. He has nothing else to live for beside his job, and the loss of it makes him feel entirely worthless.
Played By: Nigel Lindsay
Bigger Bad: His actions set off Pat's rampage, and his general behaviour causes problems.
The Bully: Toward his employees, whom he treats like shit unless he thinks he can make money off them.
Jerkass: He cruelly taunts Pat when he gets the drop on him.