By Nick Norton
Hundreds of Alan Partridge fans got the treat of their lives on Wednesday when the broadcasting legend visited Brighton to sign copies of his popular autobiography, I Partridge.
The event saw a long queue form around the block from the Brighton branch of Waterstones, where it was held, with many people waiting several hours to get the opportunity to meet their hero.
At the front of the line Sophie Griffiths, 25, of Brunswick Road, Hove, was one of a select few to witness Alan’s entrance, accompanied by songs sung by the Brighton and Hove Gay Men’s Chorus.
She said: “In terms of excitement, on a scale of one to 10, I’m about 100. I’ve been following Alan for a good ten years, and I still watch the video I was given of him when I was 15 every day.
“My mum lives in Cumbria and she’s more excited for me than I am, because she absolutely loves him.”
The event took place the day after Partridge collaborator Steve Coogan gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry, but this seemed to have no bearing on Alan’s upbeat demeanour on the night.
Katie Gledhill, manager of Waterstones Brighton, said her staff were as excited as the queueing fans, and explained how the presence of such an A-list celebrity had put the store on the map, nationally and internationally.
She said: “We’ve had lots of people from all over the country phoning us about it all week and emails from abroad. We’ve even had inquiries from fans as far afield as the US asking if they can reserve signed copies.”
Addressing the crowd, Alan, who in the past has always had a conservative approach to life, revealed he has grown to appreciate the more liberal attitude that epitomises Brighton.
He said: “I come here many times to enjoy the wit wisdom and tolerance of a place which has so many colourful characters.
“Only the other day I saw a mixed-race race transvestite wearing flip-flops with an afro-wig on. It’s the only place where you can use a skateboard and be over 40-years-old. That’s why I love it.”