Alan Partridge superfan spends hours finding festival props

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Alan Partridge on the red carpet in Norwich at the premiere of Alpha Papa in 2013

An Alan Partridge fan said he has spent hours scouring for “hundreds and hundreds” of second-hand props for a festival honouring the comic creation.

Paul Wassell, 34, said he thought the event would be the first convention for fans of the fictional broadcaster.

He said he has written to Partridge’s creator Steve Coogan to invite him to the celebration in Norwich this March.

Mr Wassell, from Stourbridge, West Midlands, said the props would help guests bond over the “inside jokes”.

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Paul Wassell

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Paul Wassell said he decided to organise the festival as there had been nothing like it before

The father-of-two said he decided to put on the event in Partridge’s fictional home city of Norwich – despite never visiting it before – following a conversation with his wife Emily last summer.

“Norwich is a four-hour drive away and it will be a trek but it looks like a beautiful city,” said Mr Wassell.

“As far as I know there has never been a proper fan convention before.

“I was feeling a bit bored and said to my wife ‘why has no-one ever organised a festival?’ and she said ‘you should do it’.”

Mr Wassell, a former teacher who now writes educational resources, said he went ahead with his idea after gauging interest on fan forums.

About 250 people are expected to attend, with some guests due to travel from as far away as Los Angeles, Amsterdam and Edinburgh.

It will take place in a hotel – but not the Linton Travel Tavern.

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Steve Coogan brought his cult character back to the BBC in 2019 for mock TV magazine show This Time with Alan Partridge

The superfan, who started watching Alan Partridge in his teens and would “endlessly quote it” with friends, said the festival would feature a personal appearance by a mystery guest, an air guitar competition, a disco with pre-1988 music only, plus “monkey tennis” and “inner city sumo” games.

Mr Wassell said he had gone to great lengths to celebrate the bungling broadcaster, with a “hefty chunk” of the budget for the not-for-profit event spent on table centrepieces, including a 1970s’ Cliff Thorburn snooker skills book.

“Alan Partridge loves the trivial and mundane and there will be centrepieces of different items on every table,” said Mr Wassell.

“It has been a lot of work… but the moment I am looking forward to most is when people see these things.

“It is going to be the world’s biggest inside joke.”

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The character worked as Radio Norwich DJ in the BBC series shown in 1997 after his first failed stint as a TV presenter

We’re Just Fans, Alan: The Alan Partridge Festival takes place at the Mercure Hotel, Norwich, on Saturday 21 March.

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