Why Alan Partridge had a panic attack about heavy metal

Alan Partridge signs copies of his book, Alan Partridge – Nomad, at Waterstones, Piccadilly on October 29, 2016 in London
(Image credit: Tristan Fewings\/Getty)

Disc jockey Alan Partridge has bravely admitted that he feared for his life after a package containing metal albums was delivered to the North Norfolk Digital radio station.

The Norwich-based broadcaster recounts the chilling incident in his new book, Nomad, which documents his one-man walking tour around “certain parts of Britain”.

He writes: “As a major public figure, it pays to be vigilant around suspect packages. This comes from personal experience. When North Norfolk Digital was sent a box of heavy metal CDs, muggins here was about to open it when fellow DJ Rudy Gibson shouted over, ‘Careful, Alan. That contains anthrax.’

“I looked at him, scarcely able to believe what he was suggesting. But he continued in more emphatic tones: ‘The box of heavy metal CDs, Alan. Contains anthrax. You understand? Anthrax?’”

Of course, anyone else would be overjoyed to receive a big box of metal albums – particularly if it contained releases by one of the Big Four. But Alan Partridge is unlike you or I. The slacks-wearing Level 42 fan didn’t get the obvious joke and assumed that the parcel in fact contained spores of the cow-bothering bacterium Bacillus Anthracis and went into panic mode.

“I ran to the boot of my car, pulling off my jumper and shirt, and then stood at my boot, slathering and rubbing my hands and face, chest and neck with handfuls of Swarfega,” he explains. “My colleagues watched from the upstairs windows, checking I was OK. Of course, I quickly realised that Gibson had been joking and that Anthrax was the name of a heavy metal band or singer whose CD might have been in the box. I looked up at the window and waved and laughed and dressed and mused on how fantastic it was to have colleagues who could share practical jokes like this.

“Sure enough, I got into the spirit and played a practical joke on Gibson by getting my assistant to phone him during one of his shows to tell him his elderly mother had had a fall,” he adds. “He was all over the place! But still, I think twice about opening strange packages.”

We imagine the Norwich celebrity now affords himself a wry chuckle every time he spins his latest thrash discovery.

Alan Partridge: Nomad is out now on hardback via Trapeze.