Aha! This is an interview with the two campaigners of ‘Anglia Square not Leicester Square’ getting the upcoming film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa to Norwich rather than London. Lets commence the chat…
First things first, tell me about yourself? What do you do?
I’m a graphic designer, which has kinda been handy with the campaign development and branding side of things, along with some PR and Social Media thinking.
Where are you from?
We’re both from Norwich, we’ve know each other since 1990 I reckon, but only really hooked back up via Raf’s shop Mainsource.
Do you have people helping you?
It’s pretty much been Rafiq and myself, (other than out long suffering wives and extra helpful kids) certainly in terms of strategy and decision making anyway, we’ve been the driving force between us really. Rafiq has been pretty amazing, real pro active and full of ideas, certainly the best person to have linked up with to make this happen. Obviously we’ve pulled in loads of favours, and lots of people have wanted to get involved which really helped. We’ve had no budget so it’s been really helpful that people have been generous enough to help us out. Eco Print, Seletar Signs, Rob Dodsworth Photography and Wolves in Wolves to name a few, Rafiq can name a few too I’m sure.
Did you ever believe you could have actually pulled it off?
In the back of my head yeah, but it was more a pipe dream really if I’m honest. After setting up the page on the Weds night I popped to the supermarket and my phone was going crazy with Facebook updates, I remember walking round the store thinking damn, this thing might work! Within two days we had nearly 2000 likes and the media was getting in touch, things just took off, and every day something else happened that allowed us to capitalise on it in some way and gain more exposure for the campaign.
Have you spoken to Steve Coogan or Armando Iannucci?
Armando got involved on Twitter and started to engage with our audience over the weekend before they announced the Norwich premiere, I guess they wanted to play on the hype which was great, and was my whole point all along really with regards to the premiere being here and the coverage it would generate. We’ve not had any direct contact with either of them though, although we hope to meet them on the day. Studio Canal and Baby Cow have been real friendly and helpful.
Tell me about your passion for this campaign and Alan Partridge… and what made you have the idea to campaign for this to be in Norwich?
My wife will tell you it was her idea! She certainly was the one who said I should do something about it as I’d mentioned how great it would be to premiere the movie in Norwich. We bumped into Rafiq and his family on Father’s Day and went for burgers together and when we mentioned it to him he was all over the idea, and that was it really, I set the page up a few days later. It was a bit of a laugh at first, but I had a strong feeling that it would be a PR opportunity missed if the premiere was not in Norwich, and I guess after enough of us started shouting about it online the film studio thought the same thing.
How long have you been into Alan?
Rafiq is the real nut, it was probably I’m Alan Partridge that got my attention, the farmers episode is ace, and I love the South African episode too with the Alan you can’t scene, that still cracks me up every time I see it.
Which is your favourite series?
Both series 1 and 2 of I’m Alan Partridge are the ones for me
Which is your top three favourite moments/scenes?
That Alan you can’t scene I already mentioned is prob my fave, as its never not funny. The Dan scene is a big fave, that and the farmers Partridge you wanker line from the Potter Heigham bridge in Watership Alan are both big with me, whenever I meet people and tell them I’m from Norwich those two lines are the most quoted to me.
I love the imagery and style, are there plans to sell merchandise online?
Cheers, we’ve had some great compliments on it which has been nice. A few people have suggested we’ve been part of the main campaign which is a real compliment as it truly has been a grass roots campaign with Rafiq and myself doing things on a whim and thinking of new ideas each day. We’ve no real plans to do much with merchandise long term, what we have produced has purely been all about raising awareness of the campaign and having fun with things, any profit from the t-shirt sales once we’ve paid the print bill is going to the local owl sanctuary as we know its a place close to Alan’s heart.
Who are your favourite stand up comedians?
I’m into Mickey Flanagan at the moment, his Out Out DVD is hilarious from start to finish, I’ve got tickets to see him at the Theatre Royal in September. I was a big fan of Frank Skinner back in his early 90s days, proper funny and crude. Not sure if I’d class him as a long term fave but I remember catching Daniel Kitson at a VW Bug Jam back in maybe 2001 and he blew me away as did The Raymond & Mr Timpkins show at one of the Red Card Comedy nights in Chapelfield Gardens
What other comedies do you love/grow up with?
I grew up on Blackadder, The Two Ronnies (a big fave with my dad), Faulty Towers, The Young Ones (I remember watching that as a kid with the sound real low on a b&w set in my bedroom so my parents didn’t hear, sometimes they busted me). I was a big fan of early Adam and joe stuff and South Park back around the same time, and the early Ali G stuff on the Eleven o’clock show was ace, as was the Dennis Pennis sketches on that show too. Bo Selecta and Banzai I was into too, and the Phonejacker first season was on a similar tip and made me smirk. There’s an Australian movie named The Castle, that was a bit of a classic in my group of friends at the time, as was the zombie movie Braindead…
And finally… what new comedy do you have your eyes on?
As already mentioned, Mickey Flanagan is a big fave at the mo, I’m hoping his new show lives up to his last.
Thank you both for the excellent chat! This was my first interview ever, expect some more soon!
I doubt you’ve forgotten but ‘Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa’ is in cinemas 7th August! Ahaa!