Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Norwich bosses start Partridge tour

Steve Coogan plays Alan Partridge in the new movie

Tourism bosses have launched an Alan Partridge walking tour to celebrate the fictional DJ's association with Norwich.

In the Steve Coogan comedy series, Partridge enjoyed a love-hate relationship with Norwich as he enraged local farmers and became obsessed with the pedestrianisation of the city centre.

But as the city prepares to host the premiere of the film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa on Wednesday, VisitNorwich and Norwich City Council Blue Badge Guides have launched a 90-minute tour which takes in key sites.

It includes locations featured in the film, along with London Street - the first conventional street to be pedestrianised in Britain.

Carol Robinson, one of the guides, said the tour also takes in the city's war memorial to acknowledge Partridge's hatred of health and safety rules.

"Norwich war memorial was originally in front of the Guildhall and was the only monument in Britain to emit smoke and flames," she said.

"Alan Partridge reckoned political correctness had 'gone mad' when he was told naked flames were not permitted on a garage forecourt, thus preventing his plans for a barbecue there. Health and safety problems mean that this memorial no longer emits the smoke and flames."

Alpha Papa producers announced earlier this month that the first showing of the film would be in Norwich, following a campaign by locals on Twitter.

James Berresford, VisitEngland's chief executive, said: "I have no doubt that Alan will help drive visitors to the city. Our research shows that 40% of tourists want to visit locations that they see in films, and he will become to Norwich what Harry Potter is to Alnwick Castle and Lady Mary is to Highclere Castle, albeit in slacks and driving gloves."

Five open tours will run between August 9 and 11, costing £6 per person. The tour will continue on a private basis after these dates. Those who take part will receive a pot of Colman's Mustard.

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