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Norwich lit up a Christmas lights display in tribute to Steve Coogan's fictional radio DJ Alan Partridge.
People turned out to see the illuminations be switched on by television presenter Jake Humphrey on Thursday night.
But a message was read to the crowd apologising for the absence of Partridge at the event.
The crowd was told the character was the "designated driver" at a pub quiz, and could not attend.
The light display includes a 30ft (9m) high sculpture featuring Partridge's face.
It 'sings' Roachford's late 1980s hit Cuddly Toy, which the character sang in the movie Alpha Papa.
Actor Simon Greenall, who played the character of Michael in the I'm Alan Partridge BBC television series, read a message on behalf of the character.
It said: "Dear people of Norwich, and to a lesser extent anyone here from Suffolk - welcome!
"I'm genuinely heartbroken not to be there with you, but it's quiz night at the Rose & Crown and I'm the designated driver.
"You're about to witness the biggest turning on of lights since the end of the three-day week.
"The electricity used to power the illuminations is enough to run a trouser press for over 25 years.
"Instead, it's powering an LED effigy of my face and body, lighting up the Christmas night just as the Archangel Gabriel did over two thousand years ago.
Ben Ayers, from Blinkbox, the company behind the display, said: "We wanted to make a Christmas statement that would match Alan's enormous ego."
The character grew up in Norwich and returned to work in Norfolk at various points in his fictional career.