Nine Alan Partridge Life Lessons From Radio 4’s Knowing Me, Knowing You

As you may have heard, the Partridge is returning to the coop. Or the nest. Or the loft. Or wherever partridges tend to congregate.

Yes, Alan is back in his spiritual home – the BBC. But before he utterly transformed the entire television landscape, Alan Partridge lived, breathed and heavily resented BBC Radio 4. His groundbreaking chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You, now available on BBC Sounds, brought some much-needed common sense and the occasional death to the network all the way back in 1992. Crammed full of the trademark Partridge philosophy we’ve come to love and find admirable, here are the life lessons we cherish from that series.

1. Stay in Touch With Your Inner Child

Though very much a man, indeed unequivocally a man’s man (possibly even a man’s man’s man) who stated that “I like sport and I am not violent”, Alan understands the importance of staying in touch with the child within all of us. In fact, when he undertakes regressive hypnotherapy and reverts to his eight-year-old self, he likes it a little too much, pleading: “I don’t want to come back. I like it here. I don’t want to be on the radio. Nobody listens to Radio 4. I want to be on the telly. Let me on the telly.”I’ll draw back my curtains. Behind which you’ll find a net curtain.Alan Partridge

2. Be Open To New Experiences

Alan values the importance of trying new experiences and being open to happenings that might seem unusual or, in his own words, “barmy old cack”. Whether this is delving into intimate problems revolving around his marriage and his World of Leather sofa or trying special French “smelling salts”, Alan is willing to go as far as necessary. The man is an open book, as he states: “I’ll draw back my curtains. Behind which you’ll find a net curtain. You may lift that up if you wish. And we’ll see if there are any skeletons in the… cupboard. The curtain cupboard. My mind’s curtain cupboard.”

3. Let Your Hair Down

While he may be extraordinarily professional in all his endeavors and determined to tackle controversial subjects such as Nobel Prize misappropriation or product placement (socks) by noted British thespians, Alan knows that it can’t be all work, work, work. He appreciates how to have a good time, as he reveals: “We called it Naughty Norwich. We had a great time, just partying all day long, all night long. I remember, during one summer we just, for about three weeks, we just had barbecues non-stop, all day long. Amazing.”

4. Don’t Hide Your Achievements Under a Big Bushel

Partridges are commonly known as “the strutting peacock of the animal world” and this particular Partridge has many peacocky attributes that he could legitimately strut about. He realises the importance of being tastefully eloquent about his own achievements and making sure they’re up a flagpole and being saluted. “I went to the University of Life. I mean I’ve got O Levels and a couple of A Levels, but they’re just bits of paper that you have framed in your office on either side of the… I mean, I’ve got six O Levels. Got four, four Bs and two Cs and I actually got seven because I got a D in French but I retook that and got a B, so that’s seven, and got two A Levels. I took French and Art and General Studies, but I dropped French because it was too much, but, I ended up with a C in Art and B in General Studies, which, of course, I’m quite pleased about.”

5. Always Be Inquisitive

The razor-sharp mind of Alan Partridge has been unleashed towards chat show guests for almost 30 years. These skills were honed on BBC Radio 4, where Alan knew that it wasn’t enough to simply ask a question and then move on. It was important to drill down into the oil well that is the participant’s mind and pump thoroughly. Witness how he quizzed a famed racing car driver and experience a masterclass of interrogation: “What’s the biggest road you’ve driven on? What’s the furthest you’ve driven without stopping? What’s the fastest car you’ve driven? What’s the slowest car you’ve driven? Do you own a bicycle? Do Formula One cars use unleaded petrol? Have you ever driven a lorry? Have you ever driven a tractor? A minibus? A tank? A taxi? A rocket?”

6. Get In Touch With Your Body

While Alan’s intellectual prowess could never be questioned or bettered, he appreciates the importance of melding both the mind and the body to formulate a complete human experience. Or, as he more succinctly puts it: “Sort it out downstairs, then sort it out upstairs.” Once that has been put in place, you can grow, exponentially as a person and be like the Pringle-blessed presenter or, to put it another way: “I, Alan Partridge, clinically fascinating.”Sort it out downstairs, then sort it out upstairs.Alan Partridge

7. Know Your Own Worth

In the cut-and-thrust world of radio broadcasting, you have to make sure that everyone is aware of your intrinsic value. Once your notable attributes are glued to the inside of their minds, you can use it to your advantage. As the great man says: “Things change. In this business, people become hot. And when you’re handling something that’s hot, you don’t want to get your fingers burnt so you wear oven gloves. And you handle that hot property with kid gloves. And oven gloves. Outside the kid gloves.”

8. Let Things Go

Despite mounting and subsequently surmounting various setbacks, problems and radical misunderstandings throughout his life, Alan knows that bottling things up and allowing bitterness to seep into your bodily cavities is fairly stunting. Despite being tormented by a school bully, Alan was magnanimous, proclaiming: “Stephen McComb called me ‘Smelly Alan Fartridge’. My personal hygiene was never in question. I showered regularly. The question is, what’s Stephen McComb doing now? I host a chat show. He’s a fork lift truck driver with British Leyland. He’s got a pathetic life. I’ve parked my car outside his house. I’ve seen him come and go. McComb if you’re listening, what are you now? You’re nothing. I am Alan Partridge.”

9. Aim For The Stars

As Alan makes clear, “I am at the top of my career, there’d be little argument about that.” But he’s never been a man to aim low when it comes to his own ambition. He is even willing, should he be required to do his duty, to take on the biggest job of all. “If I was asked by the Prime Minister, ‘would you be king?’ I would sacrifice my career on Radio 4 and I would say, ‘yes, I will be King Alan. The first.”

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