On the Hour

Comfort Classic: I'm Alan Partridge

Little did we think, when Alan Partridge first appeared as a sports reporter on BBC Radio 4’s incisive news spoof On the Hour in 1991 – his voice inspired by the late, great John Motson – that he would become a comedy icon, a national treasure even.

It seems appropriate that someone as terminally uncool as Alan, a man who, after all, is in no doubt that Wings were a better band than the Beatles, should have emerged during John Major’s premiership. Steve Coogan inhabits the character to a degree that is so brilliant as to be almost uncanny.

Armando Iannucci on his 20 years at the top

Armando Iannucci

By many people's reckoning, Armando Iannucci is one of our greatest and funniest TV satirists. The political classes and the grammar and conceits of television have proved fertile ground for Iannucci's wit and his team of gifted collaborators, notably Steve Coogan, Rebecca Front and Chris Morris.

Is television eating itself?


Will television eat itself? A flat screen might be easier to get down than a cathode-ray tube, and cause less indigestion – but, still, it doesn't really sound like a sensible diet.


All trades and professions are fascinated with themselves and like nothing more than talking endlessly about their own work. The TV industry is no different. In it's case, making telly about telly is proving increasingly irresistible.


We are all a bit too wised-up to dream about "the magic of television" any more. The schedules struggle to hold our attention.