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Alan Partridge Norwich walking tours launched

image captionThe Alan Partridge tour aims to attract more tourists to Norwich

A walking tour of Norwich to celebrate its most famous fictional celebrity Alan Partridge is being launched.

The DJ, played on TV and radio by comedian Steve Coogan, enjoyed a love-hate relationship with Norwich.

But as the city prepares to host the premiere of the film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa on Wednesday, a tour taking in key sites has been announced.

It includes locations featured in the film such as The Guildhall, City Hall and The Forum.

The 90-minute tour has been started by Visit Norwich and Norwich City Council Blue Badge Guides.

'Garage barbecue plan'

Carol Robinson, one of the guides, said the tour takes in the city's war memorial to acknowledge Partridge's hatred of health and safety rules.

"Norwich war memorial was originally in front of the Guildhall and was the only monument in Britain to emit smoke and flames," she said.

"Alan Partridge reckoned political correctness had 'gone mad' when he was told naked flames were not permitted on a garage forecourt, thus preventing his plans for a barbecue there. Health and safety problems mean that this memorial no longer emits the smoke and flames."

Alpha Papa producers announced earlier this month the first showing of the film would be in Norwich, following a campaign by locals on Twitter.

James Berresford, VisitEngland's chief executive, said: "I have no doubt that Alan will help drive visitors to the city. Our research shows that 40% of tourists want to visit locations that they see in films, and he will become to Norwich what Harry Potter is to Alnwick Castle and Lady Mary is to Highclere Castle, albeit in slacks and driving gloves."

The fictional Partridge, who became a popular character in 1990s BBC radio and TV comedies On The Hour, The Day Today, Knowing Me Knowing You and I'm Alan Partridge, was born and bred in Norfolk and started his broadcasting career in Norwich before gaining national fame.

But as his star waned, after accidentally shooting dead a guest on his TV chat show, he returned to work on the graveyard shift on Radio Norwich.

Five open tours will run between 9 and 11 August, costing £6 per person. The tour will continue on a private basis after these dates.

Those who take part will receive a pot of Colman's Mustard.

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