Neil and Rob Gibbons

Alan Partridge has had more incarnations than Barbie

Alan Partridge is back, and this time he’s restoring a lighthouse. The third volume of the Norfolk microstar’s faux autobiography is a meticulous parody of the celebrity-in-search-of-a-televisable gimmick genre, blending fan-friendly, behind-the-scenes tales of his more recent public adventures (This Time, Scissored Isle, From the Oasthouse) with a classic midlife lurch for purpose, part Griff Rhys-Jones rescuing threatened buildings, part Clarkson’s Farm. Though Steve Coogan’s id-slaying monster started out as a media satire, Alan Partridge has become a vital national mirror in which middle-aged, middle English, middleweight, middlebrow man (let us call him Homo Partridgensis) can watch himself weather and crumble. The act of restoring a suitably phallic landmark on