Fri 29 Dec, 9.40pm BBC2
Armando Iannucci and co. - the Iannuccinis? - have had quite a year. With Dave Schneider, Iannucci has performed in the topical BBC2 comedy show Saturday Night Armistice; Steve Coogan has had his own character- based six-parter, Coogan's Run; Doon Mackichan has starred in Glam Metal Detectives and Agony Again; and Patrick Marber has scripted an acclaimed West End play, Dealer's Choice, as well as directing his own adaptation of Miss Julie for BBC2.
At this rate, they are in danger of being labelled the New Comedy Establishment - a tag they are keen to play down. "What does Establishment mean?" Iannucci wondered before the launch of Saturday Night Armistice. "That we all wear blazers and ties? What is Establishment about our comedy?" The answer is its success. "Ah, like British Gas. We're going to float ourselves on the stock market," he smiled.
All of these people are re-united for with Alan Partridge, a Christmas special in a studio mock-up of the oleaginous chat-show host's Norwich home. The man with the wardrobe that taste forgot spends most of the show trying to convince one of his guests, the Chief Commissioning Editor of BBC Television (Schneider) to re-commission his series live on air. In between fawning to him, he manages to insult a prissy bell-ringer (Rebecca Front), a cross-dressing TV chef (Kevin Eldon), and a disabled golfer (Marber) and his wife (Mackichan). He even attempts to tell a fairy-tale as Hans Christian Alan Partridge-sen and to sing a hilariously ghastly version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas", before it all ends, as always, with a bombshell.
On my Christmas wish-list for Santa is the hope that the team will set aside their other projects for long enough to make another series of Partridge very soon. Pretty please.