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if you won't do it, Sky will...
on 28 January 2013
It was worth experimenting with a 'webcam' series entirely from inside Alan's radio studio, and - like Pear Tree Productions' Inner City Sumo concept - part of the appeal to Sky was no doubt that it was 'very cheap to make'. It does come at an artistic cost, though: it's very confining, and not only because the studio is a small one. It's lost that priceless over-the-top sense of the ludicrous; the realistic style makes it harder edged, less likeable and also less funny. The writers - including newbies Rob and Neil Gibbons - do well to provide any relationship development at all in such a small compass. Even so, we lose all the old supporting characters - there's no Lynn looking in to drop off his foot powder, and he doesn't even have DJ Dave Clifton to spar with.
The format also restricts the Partridge character to his worst side. In the past he always managed to seem sympathetic, however daft he acted. We could see his softer side, all his self doubt, and he was usually trying to keep up appearances as things fell apart around him. Here, though, he's in a position of petty power. His bullying of Sidekick Simon, and slimy fawning over hot young 'co-DJ' Zoe, are more unpleasant than funny. You can't put yourself in Alan's shoes at such times. At best you can only pity him, and pity isn't funny.
It's not a fashionable opinion, but I also think it misses the laughter track.
Pretty good, then, but not quite what we've been waiting eleven years for. It feels like a stop on the way to somewhere rather than a final statement.
28.12.13 ETA ...and indeed it wasn't. Anyhow, nice to see Lynn, Michael and Count Davula of Cliftonvania brought back for the Alpha Papa film.