Alan Partridge filming continues on Cromer Pier
09:00 26 February 2013
Archant Norfolk 2013
A grimacing gunman stands on Cromer pier - but the “aha-med” and dangerous man is none other than Alan Partridge.
It is new darker, desperate side to Norfolk’s adopted fictional TV and radio presenter who is known for his pompous posturing and self importance - rather than being on the police “wanted” list.
And it will be revealed when a feature film about the controversial character is realised this autumn.
The patience of Partridge groupies and film fans braving the icy chill of Cromer seafront yesterday on the second day of filming was rewarded when they saw actor Steve Coogan with the gun outside the pier’s Pavilion Theatre, not far from a shelter which has been turned into a shooting gallery.
The film crew is keeping the details of the incident close to its chest, so the exciting climax of the movie is not spoiled. But it is known to involve a car chase from Norwich to Cromer locals have been warned to expect gunshots.
Producer Kevin Loader said yesterday: “Filming is going well. It has been great so far and everybody has had a good time. The Red Lion has had a lot of custom. Steve Coogan is really thrilled with the progress so far. The cast and crew are really enjoying being in Cromer.”
He added all the north Norfolk sequences would be filmed in the day and most of the Norwich scenes would also be shot in the day, but some would be filmed at night.
Some extras have come from Norfolk and others have been drafted in from London to play police officers.
Amid a fleet of fake police cars and ambulances around the pier, there was also a small platoon of real officers, who were there to provide public reassurance about the gun-toting antics on the pier which were just make-believe.
However some hotels and businesses in the town - and the local lifeboat - are reaping real-life benefits of the 140-strong film crew being in town.
Richard Leeds, owner of Randalls Electrical on Church Street, said crew members had bought several lamps and lamp shades for scenes which would be shot in London.
“It is an advantage and quite handy for this time of year,” he added.
Mr Leeds who is also involved with the RNLI said they got a £500 fee from the movie people for some scenes they wanted to shoot from the boathouse, which were not taken in the end.
Peter Stibbons, president of the Cromer Chamber of Trade, said the film was “good news” for the town and added: “It is absolutely admirable that they decided to spend a few bitter cold mornings on Cromer Pier. We feel Steve Coogan’s commitment to Norfolk is great.”
Cromer Pier manager Ian Hall said the cast and crew had created a “mini economy” in the town during their stay and the film would hopefully attract more visitors to north Norfolk.
However, barring a few closed off sidestreets, life has gone on virtually as normal in the resort.
A Radio Norwich van outside the hotel was also flanked by emergency vehicles - all part of the props for the comedy epic.
Stacey Hannah, 28, a barmaid at the Red Lion Hotel, said yesterday: “We had about 30 of the crew come into the hotel last night and we had a laugh. They are all very friendly and we enjoy their company. We are going to notice it when they leave, which is a shame. They have brought a bit of summer back into the hotel even though it is cold outside.”
Cast and crew members have also used the Hotel de Paris during their stay and it is believed they have also used other hotels on the promenade.
A few Partridge fans did brave the cold weather to catch a glimpse of their comedy hero, who was spotted in a cream jacket on the pier.
Lawyer Stu Power, 39, from Holt, said: “I have been a Partridge fan for 15 years. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. It is great Steve Coogan has come here.”
Dean Reeve, 41, a retail manager from Hopton, near Great Yarmouth, said: “I’ve brought along my 16-year-old son who is a big fan. It would be a shame if the movie was filmed anywhere else other than Norfolk.”
Filming on the pier and promenade which began on Sunday is due to finish today before moving to Sheringham town centre tomorrow and around Norwich Market Place on Thursday and Friday.