In Brief

Steve Coogan uses Alan Partridge to swerve driving ban

Actor argued that six-month speeding ban would clash with new comedy series

Steve Coogan has escaped a six-month driving ban after successfully arguing that a new series featuring his Alan Partridge character could not be filmed on public transport.

The comedy actor was caught driving his Porsche at 36mph in a 30mph zone in East Sussex, earning him a three-point penalty on his driving licence. Coogan, who already had nine points from previous offences, faced an automatic six-month ban.

However, magistrates in Crawley opted to ban him from driving for just two months after hearing that a lengthier time off the road would force him to cancel an Alan Partridge travelogue series he is set to film for the BBC.

“Aha!” cries The Times, “It is just the sort of excuse that Alan Partridge would have attempted.” 

According to the Daily Mail “Coogan admitted his driving record was not good but claimed he has now taken steps to alter his behaviour”. However, Nick Lloyd, acting head of road safety for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “It is disappointing that Steve Coogan, who has already a history of speeding offences, has received a shorter driving ban.”

Coogan said that the show, due to start filming in the autumn, features the character driving around Britain meeting people.

“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,” he told the court. “You couldn’t put him on a train — it’s part of his character that he drives.”

He added that his Baby Cow production company has lined up 15 to 20 crew members to work on the series, who would struggle to find alternative work if he cancelled the programme.

In 2012 Coogan, who lives in a £4 million mansion in Barcombe, near Lewes, East Sussex escaped a driving ban after saying he couldn't remember who had been driving when his car was allegedly clocked speeding.

In February 2016, the actor was fined £670 and banned from driving for 28 days after being caught doing 54mph in a 30mph zone in Brighton.

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