Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa review

A-ha! Steve Coogan's comic creation is at his insensitive best as he finally goes full size...

When a siege crisis involving a former host-turned-crazed-gunman (Colm Meaney) hits North Norfolk Digital's radio HQ, the hostages' only hope lies in the hands of the peevish and self-obsessed DJ Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan).

From On the Buses to Mr Bean's Holiday, the history of British cinema is littered with TV sitcoms that tried to make the jump to a full-length feature. Very few have ever found success, but writer Armando Iannucci can now lay claim to two of the very best. Like In the Loop before it, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa manages to stand on its own two feet as a cinematic experience – making it a hilarious (and surprisingly endearing) treat for long-time fans and newcomers alike.

Picture: StudioCanal has done about as good a job as anybody could really expect with its Blu-ray treatment of Alan Partridge's film debut.

The AVC 2.40:1 1080p certainly succeeds in reproducing the clarity of the Red Epic digital cinematography, even if it does occasionally fall prey to some rather washed-out blacks and a lack of shadow detail. However, it's when the action finally moves outside in the film's final act that the encode impresses with more natural contrast levels and a brighter colour palette.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Once again it's the limitations of the source material, rather than any technical problems, that stop …Alpha Papa from scoring any better in this area. The main focus of the Blu-ray's DTS-HD MA 5.1 track (and its down-mixed LPCM 2.0 partner) is the dialogue – which sounds absolutely perfect. Beyond that, the use of the surround channels is rather limited, but ambient effects dovetail nicely with the onscreen antics, and there's some surprisingly powerful bass buried away in there as well.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: Best of the extras bunch is Hectic Danger Days…, a brilliant and eye-opening half-hour documentary about the making of the film that details how sections of the film where reshot after Coogan was less than happy with them. This fact helps account for the 27 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes that also appear on the disc. Joining these are a blooper reel and a fascinating chat track from Coogan and co-writers Neil and Rob Gibbons.

For those who want more, choose between the Asda-exclusive 'Premium Partridge Edition' with a bonus disc of interviews and trailers, or an HMV-exclusive that comes with the soundtrack CD and magazine.
Extras rating: 3.5/5

We say: Alan's film debut is probably the most fun you can have in your home cinema right now

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, StudioCanal, Region B BD, £25 Approx