Alan Partridge’s political journey – from simplistic right winger to someone ‘more like David Cameron’
'He understands you can be economically conservative but you have got to be socially liberal.'
When he was first seen and heard in the 1990s, Alan Partridge was an unreconstructed, uber-Conservative little Englander.
The presenter first aired his political views on the radio when he admitted supporting the Conservatives in the 1992 general election and praised a Tory MP for "getting rid of those gipsies" during her time as leader of Norwich Council.
When Knowing Me, Knowing You was on TV, Partridge displayed his xenophobia by boldly declaring that: "French people chomp onions and go ‘Hoh-heh hoh-heh-hoh’. That's a fact."
And when he tackled the big political issues of the day in a ‘Partridge over Britain’ segment, the TV presenter aligned himself with the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Nigel Lawson and Cecil Parkinson (and, more recently, Priti Patel) by speaking out emphatically in favour of capital punishment:
“We see these pictures of old women’s faces in the paper. Surely the best way to deal with hooligans is to hang them by the neck until the spinal column is severed, thus starving the body of oxygen.”
But times have changed and Partridge’s politics have evolved as well, according to Steve Coogan. These days he’s less of a simplistic right-winger and more of a nuanced figure. So which politician is he more like now?
“Alan does reflect the times. The good thing about him is he doesn’t stay the same and he does try and be in tune with the zeitgeist,” Coogan said during a screening of the new series.
“Twenty years ago he was kind of a reactionary, right wing Daily Mail-type person. Now he’s a bit more like David Cameron in that he understands you can be economically conservative but you have got to be socially liberal.
“He tries to embrace things and tries to be on message about things. He tries – but he’s not really.”
This Time with Alan Partridge starts on BBC One on 25 February at 9.30pm