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Alan Gordon Partridge
Played By: Steve CooganThe 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.
"Go to London, I guarantee you’ll either be mugged or not appreciated. Catch the train to London, stopping at Rejection, Disappointment, Backstabbing Central and Shattered Dreams Parkway."
- 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 Bi: Though he really only shows interest in women, he often has weird dreams where he dances to a crowd of men wearing a codpiece, and he has shown some curiosity towards "ladyboys". However, Alan generally has right wing leanings and has in the past described himself as a 'homo-skeptic', but has lately become more accepting of it in his attempts to be more politically correct.
- Attention Whore: His desperate need to be seen and admired is pretty much what drives his every action.
- 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 abruptly fire them one at a time for absurd random reasons. He doesn't tell his secretary she's been fired so he can date her, and later announces she was sacked on the radio. He would even be able to retain two of his staff if he swapped his big Rover 800 for a Rover 100 aka Metro, but he absolutely will not drive a "Mini-Metro", so he opts for a Rover 200 and everyone gets sacked.
- 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. Several of his interactions with his guests on Knowing Me, Knowing You can often take on a bullying, hectoring tone, especially if they've somehow annoyed him.
- Bullying a Dragon: He often stumbles onto this.
- Captain Obvious: Especially during his clip segments, where he points out the Eiffel Tower.
- Catch Phrase: "A-ha!"
- Conspiracy Theorist: He's deeply convinced that there's a conspiracy within the BBC to sabotage his career. He also tends to credulously buy into conspiracy theories that he's seen in movies such as JFK and Capricorn One.
- Deadpan Snarker: He does get many.
- Dirty Coward: He frequently tries to avoid confrontations by either getting his assistant Lynn to handle it (and the resulting bad feelings on the part of the person being confronted) or running away.
- Feigning Intelligence: And not convincingly.
- 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 childhood. Although it was nowhere near as miserable as he claimed.
- 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.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: As I'm Alan Partridge shows, underneath Alan's bombastic and egotistical preening there's clearly a lot of bitterness, insecurity and self-loathing deep within him. This tends to express itself in thin-skinned defensiveness and overly combative responses whenever someone challenges his ego.
- 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. He strayed into this on Knowing Me Knowing You when dealing with guests who were even worse than he is and when things go wrong that simply aren't his fault.
- No Social Skills: The great irony of Alan's life is that he's desperate to be a famous celebrity, in particular a chat-show host, yet possesses almost no social skills that would help him with this whatsoever. He's chronically lacking in charm and charisma, he's no good at small talk, he's pedantic and obsessed with trivial minutiae, his interpersonal skills come off as smarmy, he tends to say inappropriate things at the wrong time and has very little filter, he's thin-skinned and tends to get overly combative at the slightest provocation, he's arrogant and smug with very little justification, he doesn't care about other people beyond what they can do for him, and so on.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Although Alan hails from Norfolk, Mancunian Steve Coogan just gives Alan a more smarmy, arrogant version of his own voice.
- Only Sane Man: On occasion. Despite being, well, Alan Partridge, from time to time he deals with people who are even weirder and/or more obnoxious then he is, and at times like that he actually comes across pretty well. This rarely lasts long, however.
- The Paranoiac: A downplayed example; he's deeply convinced that almost everyone he encounters in the media and the BBC is somehow determined to sabotage his career, apparently without considering the fact that he's perfectly capable of sabotaging his own career entirely on his own. He also displays several other traits related to Paranoid Personality Disorder (failure to take blame or responsibility, holding grudges, intense Jerkassery, an overly-inflated view of his own importance).
- Pungeon Master: He’s deeply fond of puns. Although even he seems disgusted with "chatty-chatty-bang-bang".
- Small Name, Big Ego: Alan gets very angry when people don't recognise his 'greatness'.
- 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 big Rover 800 to a humble little Metro to help save his production company, but Alan is far too proud to be seen dead driving a "Mini-Metro". He settles for the second smallest car in the Rover range even though it still means sacking all his staff.
- 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 doesn’t realize he’s made and outright lies about situations the reader knows about first-hand.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Bad things may happen to him, but he's such a smarmy arse that it's just funny when misfortune befalls him.
- Waking Non Sequitur: At one point he wakes up yelling, 'fight you!' He does it whilst daydreaming in Alpha Papa, too. "It's Jason AND THE Argonauts!".
Played By: Felicity Montagu
"Lynn's not my wife. She's my PA. Hard worker. But there's no affection."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 — 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.
- 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.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Her ex-policeman boyfriend quickly figures out what type of person Alan is, and while Lynn is out of the room, he successfully intimidates Alan into being nicer and giving her a much-deserved and long-overdue pay raise.
Played By: David Scheider
"Tony Hayers. I tell you Sophie, you’ve not witnessed pure evil until you’ve looked into the eyes of a man who’s just cancelled your second series."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.
- Character Death: Sue Cook informs Alan over the phone of Hayers' death by falling.
- 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, he tries to let Alan go as gently as he can and shows a lot of patience as Alan desperately pitches increasingly terrible ideas for programs, until in the end he has no choice but to put his foot down.
- Sit Com Arch Nemesis: To Alan, of course, although Hayers tries not to engage when Alan becomes aggressive.
Played By: N/AAlan's ex-wife. He hasn't quite managed to get over their divorce.
- Sympathetic Adulterer: Although Alan himself doesn't seem to view it this way, it's heavily implied. At the very least, one doesn't have to observe Alan for long to realise that being married to him probably wasn't a tremendously happy experience.
- The Unseen: She's only ever referenced by other characters, and has never made an on-screen appearance.
- Your Cheating Heart: With her gym instructor.
Played By: Simon GreenallAn 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.Alan: Yeah, I know the feeling.Michael: And then I'd go looking for Tom Donaldson. I'd be hovering just down the road from his house, there. And he'd see us, but I'd duck down behind the trees, and he thinks he's safe, right? And he's just about to put the key in his front door, and I come up from behind the hedge, 'Hello, you bastard.' He panics, right? And he goes in the house, so I get the 30-millimetre cannon and I take out the fish pond, coy carp in there couple of rounds each, right? And then I just tilt the helicopter over to one side and the machine-gun bullets is chewing up the drive, right? He comes out. 'Oh no! Not me Triumph Stag! I've just had it resprayed!' I cut it right in half, right? And then he goes, 'Ahhh!' He runs up on to the garage roof. I say, 'Right. This is for you, Tom.' He goes, 'No, no!' He's begging us, he's begging us man, 'No, please don't!' And then I fly off to Cornwall and I just smash in the sea in a big ball of flames.Alan: .......sleep well, Michael. Erm, who's Tom Donaldson?Michael: Oh, he's just a mate.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Probably why he becomes friends with Alan. He's one of very few people to carefully listen to Alan's insane stories and hypothetical situations.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Alan, eventually.
- The Unintelligible: His broad 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.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: He has not come back from the war unscathed.
- 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.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: He isn't found after his Senseless Sacrifice. Considering Michael's history, it's likely he just went home and thought nothing of it.
Dave Clifton/Tom Barrington
Played By: Phil CornwellDave 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.
- The Alcoholic: Dave seems to have an addictive personality; he fell into alcoholism and later drug addiction.
- Dumbass DJ: Speaks with a typical smarmy, irritating radio DJ voice. Nor is he particularly intelligent.Dave I think you're splidding hairs a little bit there Alan.Alan Sorry, "splidding"?Dave Yeah, splidding, you know.Alan Sorry, it’s difficult to understand you when you say "splidding" Because I know in real life you say “splitting”. It’s interesting the way you substitute a “d” for a “t” when you’re broadcasting. If you ask me, it’s the behaviour of a "dosser".
- Jerkass: To Alan, who he despises and is despised by in turn.
- Off the Wagon: After being reassigned to the graveyard slot himself, he falls back into prolonged drinking.
- The Rival: To Alan. They often aim barbs at each other on-air, pretending it's banter. Their rivalry gradually softens up over the years until they finally bury the hatchet.
- Took a Level in Kindness: His experiences with alcoholism and drug addiction leave Dave with a much more optimistic, friendly and humble personality. He even manages to become friends with Alan.
- Witty Banter: Their interactions aim for this, but it goes about as well as how two people almost completely lacking in wit who viciously hate each other aiming for this trope usually works out.
Played By: N/A
- The Unseen: He's never seen in person, only mentioned. He's seen on-page in I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan, though. He helps Alan with his wife's infidelity and takes him to the zoo when Sue Cook doesn't show him.
Played By: N/A
"Sidekick" Simon Denton
Played By: Tim Key
- Butt Monkey: It's his official role to endure awful things, often by Alan's hand.
- Hidden Depths: Simon is much more socially adept than Alan, and there are hints about his self-awareness and intelligence. Of course, Alan does everything he can to quash his potential.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Alan wants to use him as this in-universe.
Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge
Played By: Steve BrownThe front man of Partridge's house-band.
- 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 suing and counter-suing 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 suing him for unpaid royalties.
- Deadpan Snarker: From time-to-time, when trading barbs with Alan.
- Running Gag: His band's name changes episode-to-episode; Chalet, Debonair, Ferrari, Savoir Faire, Lazarus, Bangkok, Vajazzle and Brandy Snaps.
- Straight Gay: He's only revealed to be gay when he off-handedly mentions having a boyfriend. Of course, this terrifies Alan.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: During the show after which Alan fires him live on-air. Glen is still in the band due to contract obligations and some other legal reasons, so they muddle through the episode quite frostily.
Played By: Rebecca Front
Played By: Patrick Marber
- Catchphrase: "Am I right?"
- Phrase Catcher: "You're not wrong!"
- 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.
Tony La Mesmer
Played By: David Scheider
Played By: Minnie Driver
- Statuesque Stunner: Played by the tall and beautiful Minnie Driver.
- Take-That Kiss: Gives one to Alan after he finds out she was born a man, which disgusts him. In response to his offensive behavior, she kisses him hard and sarcastically says his catchphrase before departing.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: She assumes Alan has read her book, which he hasn't, and so the reveal is quite casual. Alan finds it very upsetting.
Played By: Melanie Hudson
Played By: Patrick Marber
Bridie Mc Mahon
Played By: Rebecca Front
- Straw Feminist:...and lesbian.
Played By: Doon Mackichan
- Straw Feminist:...and lesbian.
Forbes Mc Allister
Played By: Patrick Marber
- Character Death: While handling Lord Byron's duelling pistols, Alan actually sets one off, shooting Forbes in the heart and killing him.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Instant Death Bullet: Alan shoots him through the heart, killing him instantly.
- Jerkass: A miserable, vile, bullying, homophobic man motivated entirely by hate.
- Karmic Death: Shot with the pistols that belonged to a man he hated, which he brought just to spite another man he hated.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: He has time to bark Be careful with that! before Alan shoots him.
I'm Alan Partridge
Played By: Barbara DurkinThe 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 flirting and inane comments. 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.
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Break the Cutie: Eventually, Alan's general Alanness gets to her.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: After she orders a drunken Michael to leave his Alan's farewell party, Alan says to Ben and Sophie "Don't know what her problem is" and Susan snaps.Susan: I’ll tell you what my problem is! Having to listen to your crap for the last six months! You’ve been in this hotel for 182 days, you little shit! Ben, Sophie, I want you on reception. And you! Check out is twelve noon tomorrow!
- 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 wouldn’t show it. I don’t know, perhaps that’s how you keep your figure.
Played By: Sally PhillipsA 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 endures Alan's appalling lack of social skills with a smile, Sophie often can't contain her amusement and has to walk away so she doesn't laugh in his face. Alan is bemused by her behaviour and is annoyed when he overhears her doing an impression of him.
Played By: James LanceBen is another member of staff at the Travel Tavern and Sophie's boyfriend. Alan is irked by his youth and his very laid-back approach to his job, but later when Ben admires Alan's new Bang & Olufsen speaker set, they have a brief chat about music and Alan feels a moment of bonding with him, but he still ends up acting like an out-of-touch old fart.
Played By: Amelia BullmoreAlan'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.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Sonja does seem to love Alan in her own way, but Alan views her more as a tool to boost his own ego.Sonja: Alan, I love you!Alan: (from the other room) Thanks!
- Beware the Silly Ones
- Funny Foreigner
- Mail-Order Bride: A crass old friend of Alan 'set him up' with Sonja, along with some of his other friends with similar foreign girlfriends. Alan seems to be unaware of this.
- May–December Romance: With Alan, who is much older than her. He never shuts up about this, constantly boasting about their age difference.
- Yandere: For Alan.
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
Played By: Colm MeaneyAn Irish radio DJ at North Norfolk Digital who, after being fired by the new owners, returns with a shotgun bent on revenge.
- Affably Evil: Pat might be the Big Bad, but he's a pretty genial fellow who spends a good part of the hostage situation chilling with Alan and Simon...albeit with a shotgun.
- Anti-Villain: Type II. He's not really evil, he's just snapped from the death of his wife combined with getting fucked over by his bosses.
- Big Bad: Of Alpha Papa.
- The Mourning After: Pat still grieves for his wife, Molly.
- Sanity Slippage: After getting fired from his job at North Norfolk Digital, he gets very...shotgunny.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: His weapon of choice.
- 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
- Asshole Victim: A non-fatal example when he's tasered by a disgruntled employee he betrayed.
- Bad Boss: Jason is a dick to his employees who he sees as expendable unless he can use them for his own ends.
- The Bully: Toward his employees, whom he treats like shit unless he thinks he can make money off them.
- Greater Scope Villain: His actions set off Pat's rampage, and his general behavior causes problems.
- Hate Sink: A key reason that he exists is so that Alan looks like a decent human being when standing next to him.
- Jerkass: Jason is just a basic asshole, only seeing people as tools to manipulate. He cruelly taunts Pat when he gets the drop on him.
Played By: Monica Dolan
Played By: Dustin Demri-Burns