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I TALK Alan Partridge, Veep & Walking & Talking

Tonight saw Sky Atlantic enter the Comedy market with a vengeance with three brand new shows of equal comedy brilliantness (if that's even a word) from Steve Coogan, Armando Iannucci and Kathy Burke.

First up we had the much publicised return of Alan Partridge, a fictional television & radio presenter played by Steve Coogan (The Trip).

Returning for a series of one-off specials, tonight saw the first one air called Alan Partridge: Places of my Life which much like the title suggests looks back on the important places in Alan's life around the county of Norfolk.

Partridge offers us his witty and quirky commentary on the sights around him such as the local market, a yest drive which he assures us isn't so that he gets a free car as well as a walk through the countryside and a hilarious trip to a graveyard where he shouts "found them" when walking past his parents graves.

The episode is full of brilliant Partridge one liners, my particular favourite came after the funny grave scene in which he takes us for a walk through the countryside and comments on how "For some, Thetford Forest means dogging - or suicide!".

I bet I'm not alone in saying that Alan Partridge has been off our screens for far too long, and unlike other 'comebacks' the wait has definitely been worth it as all the elements that made us as a nation fall in love with the character were still visible and after half an hour it was as if he had never been away. With 'Alan Partridge' trending hours ahead of its premiere on Twitter it seems that the 2012 audience still have an appetite for Partridge and I for one can't wait for next week's special... what will he get up to next?

Next was Veep, the new American series created by Armando Iannucci, creator of The Thick of It, in a US version of the show. The show's name Veep is a reference to VP, the abbreviation of Vice-President.

As a massive fan of The Thick of It and not the biggest fan of American comedy I was a little sceptical as to how Veep would turn out. However, five minutes in I fell in love with the tone and the central character Selina Meyer played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld).

Not far into the episode, Meyer talks about someone "grabbing her tit" and refers to somebody as a "fucking bitch". She certainly has some balls and bag loads of attitude telling one employee to tuck his shirt into his pants" as his "dick was hanging out" referring to him as a dickhead. All these character traits, whilst reminiscent of Malcolm Tucker from the original UK series, are not try hard and come naturally to the character making for a very smooth transition from the UK to the US.

The reason I think Veep works so well is down to Armando Iannucci's heavy involvement in the remake with help from Simon Blackwell. Too often somebody will sell their programme to another market and the remake loses that initial spark that made people fall in love with the series in the first place.

Already commissioned for a second series, it seems Veep has most certainly lived up to the hype around the programme. I for one am interested to see how this series pans out as I really enjoyed the debut episode.

The next comedy to debut on Sky Atlantic tonight was Walking And Talking, a four-part comedy drama which started life in 2010 as part of Sky1's Little Crackers series telling the story of Kathy Burke's (Harry Enfield and Chums) childhood as a teenage punk. The series marks Kathy Burke's writing debut.

Standout performances came from Ami Metcalf and Aimee Ffion Edwards, who play Kathy and Mary in their younger days growing up. Both actresses gave strong performance which had me hooked to my screen as I admired the aesthetics of this programme in a similar way to This Is England.

Kathy Burke makes the odd appearance as an Angry Nun. But who would have thought that a series that starts two kids as its lead and set in the 1970's would end up being so funny and heartwarming?Little Crackers is as series that has proved a hit for Sky, and it's great that they have picked up Kathy burke's one for a series, not forgetting Moone Boy which is the name of the series spun off from Chris O'Dowd's Little Crackers programme.2012 has certainly become a great year for comedy with many more channels than just the BBC picking up original material and making successes of them. Sky 1 began the trend with comedies such as Trollied and Stella with other channels such as ITV, Dave, GOLD, Sky Arts and now Sky Atlantic announcing a raft of new comedies.

Out of all three comedies, the one that surprised me the most was Walking And Talking, due to the brilliant performances from its two lead actresses. Alan Partridge was good as always.


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