Has Piers Morgan killed Alan Partridge?

The second episode of This Time has dipped in the ratings. “A-ha!” says his rival host

Name: This Time With Alan Partridge.

Age: A little over a week.

The long-awaited return of one of television’s greatest ever creations? Ah h ... No, don’t do that: an impression, or quote your favourite lines. It’s annoying; anyway he hasn’t said that for ages. But yes, the return of Steve Coogan’s character, presenting a television programme that sharp-sighted viewers have noticed bears a certain resemblance to The One Show.

Brilliant, isn’t it? Subtler than before, with a pathos to it. He’s, if not likable, then at least relatable. Writers Neil and Rob Gibbons have breathed new life into the character. That’s broadly what the critics have said. Glowing reviews, mostly five stars.

There’s a “but” coming, isn’t there; someone doesn’t like it? Piers Morgan. “Coogan has disappeared up his derriere,” he fumed.

Out of his own derriere. Seriously, who cares what Piers thinks? Hard to dispute.

Plus, he’s just having a go because new Partridge clearly borrows heavily and mockingly from … Piers Morgan. As well as Alan’s co-host Jennie Gresham being pretty much cloned from Morgan’s own Good Morning co-host, Susanna Reid.

And I heard she loved it! Thing is, there are others – not just Piers – who don’t. Quite a lot of viewers, for example.

It got 3.4 million! That’s not bad for a Monday night in an age when no one supposedly watches TV any more, and certainly not when it’s scheduled. That was the first episode.

And the second? Two million.

Just second-episode slump, a well-known phenomenon in television – it will settle down. That’s one hell of a slump: 1.4 million lost in a week, or more than 40% down.

Hmm, hard to dispute. What could be the reason? Well, it could just be that the critics are wrong and the new show isn’t very good.

No! The second episode especially was joyous. Well, here’s a theory: there are so many Partridge types in the news and the so-called “real world”, there simple isn’t the appetite for the original, even if he is the best.

Piers Morgan! It’s his fault. By embodying the monster, he’s effectively killed it. Don’t say it like that. It makes him sound like some sort of hero.

Don’t tell me it’s been cancelled? The Gibbons twins have said that a second new Partridge show is already in the works.

Alan is thrown yet another lifeline! Who cares about ratings? Well, quite a lot of people.

Anyway, not dead yet. So, if you are Alan, don’t say: I think I know where this is going ... Is it “aaaggh”?

And do say: “Ha!”

The GuardianTramp

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