AS the title of his 2002 autobiography suggested 'bouncing back' comes naturally to Alan Partridge, so it should come as no surprise that his return to the BBC after a near 25-year hiatus was as successful as it was hilarious.

This Time With Alan Partridge sees Alan (Steve Coogan - although it is getting harder to distinguish between the two) handed a career lifeline - the chance to stand in (temporarily) as co-host on This Time, an evening weekday magazine show very similar to The One Show.

This is of course Alan's first return to live television since his 90s chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You, was cancelled after a guest was fatally shot on air, and although nothing quite to that extent went wrong, there was plenty for seasoned Partridge fans to enjoy once the cameras started rolling and Alan began interacting with main presenter Jennie Gresham (Susannah Fielding).

Switching awkwardly from a segment about baby seals ("So cute, I don't know whether to eat him up or wear him") to harder hitting items on personal hygiene and computer hackers, our hero maintained a state of constant bafflement and awkwardness as if he had been beamed straight in from the mid-90s and a time before Twitter, fake news and the #MeToo movement.

Some of the word play was brilliant: Alan introducing one guest as Alice Clunt when she was actually called Alice Fluck ("Oh. Right. I can see what I've done") was a particular highlight, as was his reciting of a rather haunting childhood rhyme about going to the toilet ("After the pee and poo has landed, please make sure that you're clean handed") .

Perhaps best of all was Coogan's love of physical comedy, as he glided awkwardly across the set or demonstrated how to use a train toilet without getting any germs on your hands.

Some bits didn't work: the in jokes about the BBC have been bettered now by the excellent W1A and the awkward cameo by newsreader Emily Maitlis, who Alan meets in a lift, just seemed a bit unnecessary. The wonderful Felicity Montague was underused too as Lynn Benfield, Alan's long-suffering PA.

Overall though, this was a brilliant comeback and with five more episodes of This Time to run, it promises the perfect fit for a man whose broadcasting style was once described as "equidistant between chitchat and analysis". Jurassic Park.