TV & Movies

Steve Coogan avoids lengthy driving ban thanks to Alan Partridge

Steve Coogan has swerved a lengthy driving ban after he claimed it would prevent him from being able to film his new Alan Partridge series.

The I’m Alan Partridge star was caught driving his Porsche at 36mph in a 30mph zone close to his £4million mansion in Halland, East Sussex.

The 53-year-old comedian was clocked on January 8 by an automatic camera on the A22 Eastbourne Road and faced a three-point endorsement on his driving licence.

But the motoring enthusiast already had nine points from previous motoring offences and a further three points would mean he would have 12 points and face an automatic six-month ban under the totting-up procedure.

But magistrates in Crawley decided to hand him a two-month driving ban after hearing a sixth-month ban would force him to cancel an Alan Partridge travelogue television series he is set to make for the BBC.

He said the travelogue, which he is due to start filming in October, sees the comedy character driving to various locations around Britain meeting people.

Coogan told the court: ‘I’m producing a travelogue follow on TV series where I’m basically driving around Britain.

‘The whole nature of the series is that it is a travelogue and it’s an artistic thing that he drives and that defines his character.

‘You couldn’t put him on a train because that not who he is – it’s part of his character that he drives.’

He said the camera shots could not be faked because he has to be seen driving the vehicle himself.

He said: ‘You have cameras mounted on the bonnet then you have other shots where you have a camera mounted on a separate car filming the person in the car driving.’

Coogan said his Baby Cow production company has lined up between 15-20 professionals to work on the series who would struggle to find alternative work if he cancelled the series.

The court heard the actor has a history of speeding offences and had previously attended a drivers’ awareness course just two months ago.

Coogan admitted his driving record was not good but claimed he has now taken steps to alter his behaviour.

He said: ‘I’m trying to slow down and I try to observe the average speed limits that have come in. I tend to drive the one, the car, with the automatic cruise control that will keep me within the speed.

Ann Schroder, chair of the magistrates bench, said they had taken into account the ‘exceptional hardship’ it would cause other TV professionals if the Alan Partidge travelogue had to be cancelled.

She said: ‘We have also taken into account your driving record which is not very good.’

Magistrates handed him three penalty points and banned him from the roads for two months. They also fined him £750 with £85 court costs and £75 victim surcharge.

Asked if he could pay the total today Coogan said: ‘I can.’

The comedian, who declined to speak after the case, was driven away by a friend in a burgundy Range Rover.

Steve Coogan is working on a new Alan Partridge travelogue series.

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