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Alan Partridge to address the state of the nation in new Baby Cow/BBC mockumentary

Alan Partridge is back, and this time Steve Coogan’s comic creation is reintegrating into life in his beloved Norwich following a year out working in Saudi Arabia.

The new mockumentary series And Did Those Feet… with Alan Partridge follows the broadcasting titan as what begins as a documentary about homecoming morphs into something more personal, as Alan realises that the happiness he thought he’d feel at being back in Norwich just hasn’t materialised. Something’s missing.

So Alan sets off on a quest to understand his funk and to share what he learns with the nation. If he ends up being seen as a mental health champion for the middle-aged, who’s also a good fit to present other issues-led documentary strands, so be it.

Over six episodes, Alan explores exactly half a dozen of the areas that play a part in keeping us funk-free, from home lives, to work life, to the importance of nature, to relationships, to pastimes, to a sixth topic he’s not worked out yet because he’s a proper journalist, not just a sausage machine knocking out content.

It’s a journey through the mental health of himself and the country he loves (the UK including Northern Ireland) to ask: are we mentally unwell, mentally challenged, sad, cross, disturbed or just plain fed up?

As Partridge notes: “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoys extensive oil and natural gas reserves, but has also seen economic growth in other areas such as agricultural production, retail trade, construction, and transport. It directs some $69 billion to military expenditure each year. And yet despite all that, I somehow felt incomplete.”

Sarah Monteith, Baby Cow CEO said: “We’re delighted Alan’s back from Saudi Arabia with his appetite for broadcasting undiminished. ADTFWAP promises to be exactly the sort of uncompromising, state-of-the-nation piece that the country needs, almost as much as he does.”

Jon Petrie, BBC director of comedy commissioning added: “Alan Partridge is the most iconic comedy character in the UK. The wonderful Steve Coogan and Neil & Rob Gibbons continue to innovate and create an even richer world for Alan to inhabit. This unflinching look at the state of the UK through Alan’s eyes promises to add more brilliance to the Partridge canon.”

And Did Those Feet… with Alan Partridge (6 x 30’) is a Baby Cow production for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Written by Steve Coogan, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons. Directed by Neil Gibbons and Rob Gibbons. The producer is Joe Fraser and the executive producers are Steve Coogan, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons, Rupert Majendie and Sarah Monteith. The series was ordered by Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy and the commissioners for the BBC are Ben Caudell and Navi Lamba.

Partridge’s return was one of a clutch of new comedy announcements from the BBC this afternoon. Among other highlights, Bolton’s most enquiring mind, Philomena Cunk (Diane Morgan), returns with her most ambitious quest to date; venturing right up the universe and everything, to find the definitive answer to the ultimate question – the meaning of life – in Cunk’s Quest for Meaning, a feature-length special produced by Broken Bones, and there are returns for Man Like Mobeen, Greg Daniels in The Cleaner, Dreaming Whilst Black, and a new vehicle for Rab C Nesbitt’s Gregor Fisher in Only Child.

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