As the old saying goes, it’s not Christmas until Alan Partridge’s giant neon face has been switched on. And in Norwich, 8,000 local residents gathered outside the City Hall last night to observe the ritual turning on of Alan’s electronic visage by blinkbox. Yes, Tesco’s video on-demand service has sponsored the Norwich Christmas lights this year. And they’ve done it with all the style of Norfolk Digital’s number one radio disc jockey reenacting the opening credits to The Spy Who Loved Me.
BT Sport anchor Jake Humphrey flipped the switch on the display, at the centre of which is – in the words of blinkbox – “a giant singing illumination of Alan Partridge so big it could be seen from space”.
We’ll just repeat that: a giant singing illumination of Alan Partridge so big it could be seen from space.
It took 15 tonnes of scaffolding and 8 tonnes of lighting and sound equipment to support the 30-foot tribute to Alan Partridge – a display the size of a T-Rex. Quicker than you can say “Jurassic Park!” Alan’s face shot powerful lasers from its eyes, projecting 80ft giant dancing Alans across the Norwich town centre.
Alan provided a written statement, which was read out by his friend Michael: “Dear people of Norwich, and to a lesser extent anyone here from Suffolk – welcome! I’m genuinely heartbroken not to be there with you, but it’s quiz night at the Rose & Crown and I’m the designated driver. You’re about to witness the biggest turning on of lights since the end of the 3-day week. The electricity used to power the illuminations is enough to run a trouser press for over 25 years. Instead, it’s powering an LED effigy of my face and body, lighting up the Christmas night just as the Archangel Gabriel did over two thousand years ago. I hope you have a wonderful festive season. A-HA!”
The face then provided a perfectly lip-synched rendition of Cuddly Toy, Roachford’s 1980s anthem that the DJ sings while driving in the title sequence to the film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.
blinkbox insists the Norwich Christmas Lights are to promote the digital release of Alpha Papa on Monday 2nd December. Really, they just wanted an excuse to create a 30-foot singing replica of Alan Partridge’s face that shoots lasers from its eyes and can be seen from space.