Norwich was the centre of an incredible marketing campaign when the Alan Partridge movie Alpha Papa was set for a London premiere and two friends from Norwich decided it should be in its rightful home – ‘Anglia Square not Leicester Square’.
Alan Partridge is the fictional radio and television presenter created by comedian Steve Coogan. The movie features the ridiculous life and idiotic trials of Partridge as he bumbles his way through his radio show in North Norfolk and becomes involved in a studio siege.
He’s loved and loathed in Norfolk in equal measure for his portrayal of the parochial life of a clueless native. The campaign to hold the world premiere with full red carpet glamour in one of the grottiest parts of the city was the incredible work of Rob Wilkes and Rafiq Turnbull. Their belief that Norwich should reap the red carpet glory gathered immense momentum through the city and into the hands of national media with the tagline ‘Anglia Square Not Leicester Square’.
If you’re not familiar with Anglia Square a quick look at Trip Advisor will throw up helpful, unambiguous terms such as ‘eyesore’, ‘hell hole’, ‘grim’. It’s a area well trodden by worn out flipflips not Jimmy Choos. It’s home to Iceland, QD and the 99p Store.
It was a campaign plea that producers couldn’t ignore and yesterday afternoon Hollywood Cinema, Anglia Square, Norwich, had its day in the spotlight. I was lucky enough to go to my first world premiere, right on my door step…actually it’s not that close; I’d like to have it on record that I do not live near Anglia Square. In fact, I had to take a cab!
So, it was low on the frills, even lower on the air-con but great to see the cinema packed as it may have been some years ago. It was especially surreal to see a popcorn queue full of footballers, chief execs, screen writers and radio presenters all paying for their own drinks…not sure if that happens in Leicester Square!
The movie is incredible if you like someone to laugh at, lots of great Norfolk location shots and the chance to see Alan naked from the waist down. I highly recommend Alpha Papa and I hope it puts Norwich on the map as a place where we have a great sense of humour, some beautiful places to visit and the community spirit to make the country sit up and listen to a great idea.
If Anglia Square can hold a red carpet World Premiere with class and style, absolutely anything is possible.
Alpha Papa opens in cinemas on August 7.