Played superbly by Steve Coogan, this larger-than-life portrayal of sports presenter, turned chat show host, turned Radio Norwich presenter is one that is now firmly entrenched in the British comedy mainstream.
The character of Partridge is a grotesque parody, and yet we cannot help but find him outrageously funny, even if it is at the expense of others. Being an eternal cynic, with an unfounded sense of self-importance, it seemed only logical that his car of choice should be similarly ‘mutton-dressed-as-lamb’.
And what model better sums that up than the Mk2 Rover 800, as featured in the Christmas Special, Knowing Me, Knowing Yule, as well as the series, I’m Alan Partridge, which charted his fall from the bright lights of a chat show presenter on BBC2’s primetime 9:00pm slot to his lower profile life as a DJ on Radio Norwich’s graveyard shift.
Here is a selection of images of his flirtation with the 800… and its replacement.
So what did Alan Partridge like to get up to on his days off at the height of his career? After shopping at Tandy, there was nothing better than going to Norwich hospital to donate old toys to needy children. It’s a good job he had his Rover ‘Veet-esse’ fastback for such missions of mercy – a nice big boot for the toys and an automatic gearbox ‘for those tricky hill starts’.
|Partridge on a mission
It’s 1997, and Alan has traded is his Vitesse for a KV6 Sterling, a suitably grandiose car for a presenter looking to get his second series in the bag. Luckily, this late-spec Sterling boasted a CD multi-changer and sweet speaker set-up, as Partridge was more than a little eclectic with his music collection. Only a true connoisseur would be brave enough to admit that ‘Wings were only the group the Beatles could have been’.
|Obscene publication with alloys
Tagged! “Sub-human scum” show Partridge what they think of him by decorating his car in a not too pleasant way. Luckily the Linton Travel Tavern’s porter, Michael, had the presence of mind to edit the scrawl to read, ‘COOK PASS BABTRIDGE’. Here, at a meeting with Tony Hayers of the BBC, Partridge learns he won’t be getting his second series. Just as well: had he kept the Sterling, KV6 heartache would not be too far away.
Now a second series of KMKYWAP is out of the question, Partridge needs to trade down. ‘I’m not driving a Mini Metro’, Alan tells his long-suffering PA, and such is his conviction that given the choice between Rover’s smallest car and keeping Peartree Productions open, or taking a 200 and closing the company, he chooses the latter. Here we see Partridge on his headset (prescient or what?) planning future ventures…
|Round in circles
Bored and depressed, Alan takes to driving around the Norwich ring road in his 200. Sadly, he dislikes the plastic steering wheel with its embossed Rover logo, and finds it less entertaining than buying himself some screws from the local DIY store. As he tells Lynn, ‘Never going to use them… never going to use them’.
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
For the 2012 cinema release of Steve Coogan’s creation, we see the star of the show moving to Kia, via previous runs in products from Lexus, Toyota and Vauxhall, leaving his assistant, Lynne, to carry the torch with her lovely 1985 Austin Metro City X, complete with Supercover sticker…
Thanks to Andrew Carr for the pictures.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.