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Series / Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge

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A spoof chatshow starring Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge (formerly the hopeless sports commentator on The Day Today), the pathologically smug, hopelessly neurotic, and completely incompetent titular chatshow host. The format was the standard light-entertainment variety show. Alan would emerge to a bellow of "Ah-HAAAA!" (reflecting the ABBA song "Knowing Me Knowing You" that was the show's theme) and would introduce and interview guests, music acts and variety performances.

However, the show was a savage and razor sharp mockery of the clichés, shortcomings, and failings of the poorer-quality chat shows on television: perfectly lampooning the egocentric and smarmy hosts, bored and inappropriate guests, shallow and inane questions, and overload of kitsch and cheesy set-pieces. And in the centre was Alan: utterly egocentric, convinced that he was the master of ceremonies but hopelessly out of his depth, completely lacking in charm, talent or sense of professionalism, and always completely losing what little control of his guests and employees he had managed to scrape together by the end of the episode ("... and on that bombshell...").

Guests would openly insult him, acts that he claimed were excellent (but had most likely never even seen) bombed hopelessly, and strange variety performances were the order of the day. One such performance was the live re-creation of the 1936 British Women's Olympic Hurdle team victory by the elderly surviving members of that team in an "Olympic Stadium" that was little bigger than a child's sandpit.

Based on a radio show of the same name, the TV series reusing many of the jokes and characters. The radio series aired on BBC Radio 4 from 1992-93; the television series aired on BBC 2 from 1994-95. See I'm Alan Partridge for what happened to Alan next, and I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan for "Alan's" views on what happened.

Knowing me, Alan Partridge. Knowing you, the tropers. Ah-ha.:

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Some of the guests are actually pleasant and willing to play along with Alan's cheesy skit, until he insults them or brings up their personal lives on TV one time too many, at which point they can be even more standoffish as the more repugnant guests.
  • Borscht Belt: Alan interviewed Borscht Belt style comedian (who even uses this phrase) in the Las Vegas episode of the radio show. This being Alan, he failed to get most of the comedian's humour and then told an offensive Jewish joke.
  • British Brevity: One series of six episodes, plus a Christmas special. It's likely that only one season was ever planned, but at any rate they knew that the subsequent Christmas special would be the last episode, and made this a central part of the comedy.
    • The radio version also ran for seven episodes — a series of six, followed by a spoof "fly on the wall" documentary about the making of the show.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Either to or by Alan, it usually doesn't end pretty either way.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": When interviewing the author of a salacious book about The British Royal Family:
    Lawrence Knowles: Believe me, Alan, I obtained some photos that were frankly unpublishable.
    Alan: And are they in the book?
    Lawrence Knowles: Yes, they are.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: The truly awful ventriloquist act of Joe Beazley and Cheeky Monkey.
  • Captain Obvious: "That's the Eiffel Tower" Alan, while narrating clips of himself in Paris, modelling his "sports casual" clothing.
  • Catchphrase: There's the "A-ha!" that he uses several times during his shows, and he's fond of ending with "and on that bombshell..." (which was picked up by Jeremy Clarkson)
  • Christmas Episode: Knowing Me, Knowing Yule, which takes place in a replica of Alan's home.
  • Crapsack World: The show itself. While Alan is obviously awful, many of the guests are either rather horrible and egocentric people themselves and who enjoy winding Alan up for the laughs, or nice people who Alan somehow manages to offend and provoke an argument with until they end up becoming just as nasty with him as he is with them. Forbes McAllister is probably the most ghastly:
    Alan Partridge: "Are you entirely motivated by hatred?"
    Forbes McAllister: "Yes I am actually. That's quite a perceptive question."
    Alan Partridge: "Thank you."
    Forbes McAllister: "I hate you."
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Alan's attempts to steer and direct the conversation or control a rambunctious guest inevitably just make things worse.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: A downplayed example (Alan isn't quite that monstrous), but an example nonetheless. While his firing is later found to be legally unenforceable in another episode, considering that Alan was already on edge due to learning that he had been deliberately excluded from Glenn's party with the other guests (on top of the numerous other typical humiliations he'd faced that episode), Glenn was clearly playing with fire when he got a bit cocky and decided to make a joke at the expense of Alan (who is still, after all, his boss) and his "Sports Casual" clothes live on national television.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Several of the more awful guests on the show suffer this. They tend to take pleasure in bullying and humiliating Alan until they eventually go to far and cause Alan to lash out by exposing something about them that they'd rather not have discussed live on television.
  • Enemy Mine: Alan and his house band, led by Glenn Ponder. At the end of one episode, Alan fires Glenn live on the air for not inviting him to a staff party which he had invited everyone else (included that week's guests) to. The next week, Alan reveals that Glenn filed a court injunction preventing his dismissal... and then goes on to do his weekly "light banter with the band" segment with a man who does not want to play along.
  • Expy: Some of the interviews/interviewees in the radio series are recycled, to varying degree, into the TV series. Yvonne Boyd even appears in both the radio series and TV series. All the examples below are played by the same actor both times, except for Shirley Dee and Terry Norton, and the children.
    • Lord Morgan of Glossop and Forbes McAllister. Both also die live on air.
    • French racing driver Michel Lambert and French chef Philippe Lambert.
    • Big American singers Sally Hoff and Gina Langland.
    • The Duchess of Stranraer and showjumper Sue Lewis are both shy and awkward.
    • When Alan interviews cockney celebrity Shirley Dee, he starts dragging up the violent past of her gangster uncle Dennis and ends up humbly apologising when he discovers she's still in touch with him and he will be listening to this interview. When he interviews cockney boxing promoter Terry Norton in the TV series, he drags up the incident where Norton was accused of murder and ends up humbly apologising when Norton threatens him.
    • Alan is humiliated by a bratty child prodigy in the radio series, and in the TV series he's humiliated by a pair of bratty Hollywood child stars (although with the child prodigy Alan has the last laugh when he defeats him in an argument and the boy wets himself)
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Every week Alan would charge in determined to put on a good show. And every week it would bomb disastrously.
  • Funny Background Event: After being told to leave the stage following his dreadful ventriloquist act, Joe Beazley can be seen taking off his puppet Cheeky Monkey and petulantly throwing it into the wings as he stomps away.
  • The Ghost: Roger Moore in the first episode of the TV series. Alan keeps expecting Roger to show up for the entire episode, and valiantly attempts to host a segment called "An Audience with Roger Moore", despite Roger's absence.
    • Reportedly Moore was told off by his father for not turning up for his appearance.
  • Grammar Nazi: Child genius Simon Fisher's extraordinary brilliance mainly seems to assert itself via snottily correcting other people's use of the English language. This comes back to bite him when Alan picks up on his misuse of 'who' instead of 'whom', which ironically Simon had initially corrected Alan on.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Alan is very uncomfortable around gay people, and often feels the need to reassure people that he himself is straight.
  • Headscratchers: In-Universe, one has to wonder what Forbes McAllister was thinking when he brought loaded guns into a TV studio.
  • Heroic BSoD: The calamitous events of Knowing Me, Knowing Yule end with Alan staggering directionless across the set with a raw partridge stuck on his hand staring blankly into space while Mick Hucknell sings "Ding Dong Merrily on High".
  • Hypno Fool: "Aha! Grrr."
  • Hypocrite: When speaking to the agony aunt, Alan claims that his "friend" never strayed from his wife, but later, under hypnosis, he tries to take an imaginary Ursula Andress to a hotel where the staff know him and are "very discreet."
    • Keith Hunt in the first episode. He makes a career out of surprising guests on his own show, but seems oblivious to the distress he causes Sue Lewis in doing so. So when he is humiliated by Alan throwing his own surprise on Keith (largely caused by Keith forgetting the birthday of his own son), all he can do is mutter that Alan "should have checked with him first".
  • I Have This Friend: Played straight when Alan asks a personal question to the Playboy agony aunt.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Happens to Alan in one episode of the radio series after he takes some "French smelling salts" offered to him by racecar driver Michel Lambert (which obviously— at least to everyone except Alan— is cocaine).
  • Invisible Celebrity Guest: In the first episode of the TV series, Alan promised an appearance by Roger Moore - who, of course, didn't show up. This had repercussions, as Alan angrily insulted him on air the next week's show (calling him a "towel thief")... and the week after that, following a (fictional) injunction by Moore's lawyers, was forced to apologise on air.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Played for Laughs. Both Alan and his guests regularly loathe each other and are unwilling to play along with the others' gimmicks, leaving wonder to why any of them agreed to appear on Alan's show in the first place.
  • Karma Houdini: A lot of the people on the show are suggested to get away with their outrageous behavior on air (though granted we never hear about them or their careers again). While Alan is shown to become a failure later on, it's still kinda off scale to some of the stuff he commits on his show.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: After a critic describes the show as 'moribund', Alan decides to prove them wrong by having himself strapped to 'Wheel of Death'.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • In-Universe; although most of the lyrics aren't played, Alan's choice of "Knowing Me, Knowing You" by ABBA is questionable, since the lyrics depict a relationship that's falling apart and "this time we're through!" Of course, given Alan's interactions with most of his guests, on another level this is perfectly appropriate.
    • Alan's 'biography', I, Partridge, expands on the joke by Alan explaining that his initial choice of song/title was "The Winner Takes It All"... a song which is about a woman sadly giving up on a relationship after a divorce. Of course, Alan just latched on to the title lyrics because they stroked his ego.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The most obvious one is probably Yvonne Boyd who parodies Vivienne Westwood, also Forbes McAllister is Michael Winner (he even mentions him as a rival) Keith Hunt seems partly based on Chris Evans, Lawrence Knowles is Max Clifford and in the radio series; Shirley Dee is Barbara Windsor, Sally Hoff is Liza Minnelli and Conrad Knight's voice is basically a Roger Moore impression.
  • No Social Skills: Alan. This is, as you'd expect, something of a problem for a chat show host.
  • Oh, Crap!: Alan initially scoffs at the idea that he'd be hearing from a guest's solicitor after pulling a rather mean trick on him. He continues to be dismissive after learning that the guest has the same solicitor as some Z-list celebrity Alan has a rivalry with, then his face visibly falls when he learns that Roger Moore is also a client.
  • Overly Long Gag: Alan opening the CD door of a demo home stereo at the Norwich Tandy from the Christmas special. It's a quality action.
  • The Peter Principle: It's unclear how an incompetent sports correspondent came to host his own chat show in the first place, but the results prove that this was not a good idea.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Downplayed, as it's not the whole episode nor do the events introduce completely new characters. However, the "Christmas in Norwich with Alan Partridge" sequence in the middle of "Knowing Me Knowing Yule" is notably different in style and tone from most of Knowing Me Knowing You, focuses more on Alan's personal life than previous cut-away segments have done, and contains several hints of his dismal and miserable home life; it can almost be viewed as a short proof-of-concept for I'm Alan Partridge, which would premiere a few years later. The sequence when he's Christmas shopping in Tandy and gets hung up on the "smooth action" of a CD player's disc drive opening in particularly could slot into the later show quite comfortably.
  • Product Placement: This was mocked by Alan's constant, feeble attempts at placing 'subtle' placements for sub-standard products throughout his show. As his show (both real-life and fictional) was broadcast on The BBC, which being a public broadcaster has strict guidelines about that kind of thing, this often got him into a lot of trouble in the show. It was a key plot point in the Christmas Special, as he vainly attempted to plug Rover cars under the watchful eye of his boss.
  • Racist Grandma: Alan unwittingly finds himself interviewing one when he interviews the 'The Olympic Golden Girls of 1936'.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Knowing Me Knowing You", of course!
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Alan Partridge once accidentally shot an obnoxious food critic in the heart with an antique dueling pistol on live television. It is this (coupled with his later punching of a BBC programming executive in the face with a partridge) that ended his TV career.
    • Lampshaded by Alan. How was he supposed to know it was loaded, who hands someone else a loaded pistol and why was it loaded anyway? Of course, while this clearly means that Forbes has some fault here as well, this doesn't let Alan off the hook entirely since, as any responsible gun user will tell you, the first rule when handling a firearm is always to assume it's loaded until you confirm otherwise.
  • Running Gag:
    • Pay attention to the size of the "Knowing Me, Knowing You" sign as each episode passes.
    • Alan mimes attacking the audience with a different weapon each week, with the level of mimed violence increasing with each episode.
    • Alan re-using the same set-up and punchline for his jokes: he "confesses" to taking part in an act of extreme and graphic violence, then admits it was part of a harmless game such as Clue or Mortal Kombat.
    • The name of Glenn Ponder's house band always changes.
    • Each episode has a "New, regular segment" that inevitably fails miserably and is never seen again. The lone exception being "Knowing You, Another Alan Partridge", which struggles after the first week and has to resort to someone who cannot speak English, and later, a dead person.
  • Screwed by the Network: In-universe, Alan claims that a major contributing factor to the failure of Knowing Me, Knowing You was due to it being scheduled against the ten o'clock news.
    • Sort of splits since his show is suggested to have failed for perfectly normal and logical reasons, rather than repeated insulting and abusing (and at one point even killing) his guests and numerous other foul ups that should have earned Alan a long term prison sentence.
  • Smarmy Host: Alan.
  • Sound-to-Screen Adaptation: The show originated on BBC radio before its television incarnation.
  • Special Guest: Subverted; in the first appearance, Alan promised an appearance by Roger Moore - who, of course, didn't show up. This had repercussions, as Alan angrily insulted him on air the next week's show (calling him a "towel thief")... and the week after that, following a (fictional) injunction by Moore's lawyers, was forced to apologise on air. The other guests who appeared were fictional.
    • Played straight in the Christmas special, in which Mick Hucknall really did appear.
  • Stealing from the Hotel: Alan accuses Roger Moore of being a towel thief, until Moore's lawyers force him to apologise on air.
  • Studio Audience: An interesting case. This being a spoof chat show, it made sense for Alan to have an audience, which he did. The audience, however, were well aware that they were really watching a fictional comedy show. Hence the same audience both represented Alan's fictional audience and provided the real-life laugh-track.
  • Stylistic Suck: The show is a deliberately cheesy and awful parody of numerous variety-chat shows that were common on British television in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • Talk Show: A spoof. And how.
  • The Talk Show with Host Name: Naturally, the title follows this formula. Partridge's character is such that it can be inferred he was the one who insisted on it, rather than the network.
  • Theme Tune Extended: Episode 6 has dancers wearing Alan Partridge masks following his usual walk-on, while the house band keeps going with the theme song–with the singers throwing "With Alan Partridge" after every "Knowing Me Knowing You".
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal:
    • Alan is extremely upset to discover that Danielle, the Playboy advice columnist he's interviewing, used to be Daniel. It's made doubly embarrassing for Alan as it exposes that he hasn't actually bothered to read the autobiography that Danielle is on the show to discuss. She gives him a "Take That!" Kiss before departing.
    • After spending the entire episode gloating about having a hot tub chat with Northern European dance troupe Hot Pants, Alan is horrified when the all-male group surrounds him in the tub wearing Sprunt-branded Speedos.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Alan.
  • Verbal Backspace: When Alan accuses Roger Moore of being a hotel towel thief, his guest reveals that Moore was her godfather, forcing Alan to awkwardly declare, "he's a lovely man."

Alternative Title(s): Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge