The people of Norwich were left open-mouthed by a surprising finale to their official Christmas lights switch on – a giant singing illumination of Alan Partridge that was so big it could be seen from space.
As thousands of residents and visitors gathered outside the City Hall to watch BT Sport anchor and local-boy-done-good Jake Humphrey turn on the Christmas lights, the atmosphere was electric. But it wasn’t until Humphrey flicked the switch that the crowd realised the buzz was coming from a small corner of the square containing a hidden tower of power devoted to the North Norfolk Digital DJ.
In a gesture to match the now epic proportions of Partridge’s ego, a 30 foot dedication to the Norwich born radio presenter boomed into life, with a singing sculpture of his face providing a perfectly lip-synched rendition of ’Cuddly Toy’, the 80s anthem by Roachford that features in the title sequence to this year’s hit comedy Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. The stunt was organised by blinkbox ahead of the release of the movie on 2 December.
Supported by 15 tonnes of scaffolding and powered by 8 tonnes of lighting and sound equipment, the vast illuminated show built up to a dramatic finale, shooting powerful lasers from Alan’s eyes and projecting ‘80ft giant dancing Alans’ across the town centre and into the skies above.
Alan provided a statement to accompany his daring stunt, which was read out by his friend Michael (actor Simon Greenall):
“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!”
Follow the fallout on Twitter with the hashtag #blinkboxpartridge
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is available on blinkbox from Monday 2 December.
In the meantime, catch up on all of Alan Partridge (and more!) with our Steve Coogan Collection