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How Richard Madeley became a real-life Alan Partridge

Sean O’Grady takes a look at the enduring career of Richard Madeley, a mainstay of daytime TV whose turn of phrase and regular gaffes see him constantly charged with ‘going full Partridge’

Sunday 20 June 2021 14:00
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<p>Daytime commando: Richard Madeley, scourge of underpants and the host touted to succeed Piers Morgan on ‘Good Morning Britain’</p>

Daytime commando: Richard Madeley, scourge of underpants and the host touted to succeed Piers Morgan on ‘Good Morning Britain’

Richard Madeley doesn’t wear underpants. We know this because he has told us so, on a few occasions, and there’s no reason to doubt him. I mean, why would you make that one up? During a typically pointless segment on ITV’s Good Morning Britain a couple of years ago, the “peg” being a survey about how often blokes buy a new pair of shreddies, Madeley just came out with it, so to speak – “I can’t remember the last time I wore pants” – explaining that, provided you shower daily, there’s really no need. Then, typically, he pushed things a bit, asking his fellow presenters Charlotte Hawkins and Kate Garraway: “How often do your fellas change their underwear… do they regularly refresh and buy?”

As with his most recent “controversial” point of view, a slightly garbled comparison of ex-Isis bride Shamima Begum and the Hitler Youth, Madeley’s dissertation illuminated two key features of his persona. First, that he seems to possess no “filter” when he speaks his mind; and, second, that he has the mind of Alan Partridge.

For the record, Madeley expressed this view, not necessarily endorsed by ITV: “It’s quite an interesting point, and I was thinking about this last night. Obviously, we had the Nuremberg trials after the war and we hanged quite a few Nazis and imprisoned a lot of others and we let them out eventually.

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