Steve Coogan has escaped a lengthy driving ban by arguing that he is about to film a new Alan Partridge series and the comedy character does not use public transport.
Coogan was caught driving his Porsche at 36mph in a 30mph zone, which merits a three-point penalty. He already had nine points from previous motoring offences and faced an automatic six-month ban under the ‘totting-up’ procedure.
However, magistrates imposed only a two-month ban after hearing that anything longer would force him to cancel a new BBC series in which Partridge does a lot of driving.
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 is not who he is – it’s part of his character that he drives.”
Crawley magistrates heard that Coogan was clocked by an automatic camera on the A22 near his £4 million home in Halland, East Sussex on January 8. The offence took him to the 12-point limit.
The new series will be a follow-up to This Time With Alan Partridge, which aired earlier this year. The comedian explained that the character will meet people at various locations around Britain, and the driving shots cannot be faked.
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 15-20 crew members to work on the series, who would struggle to find alternative work if he cancelled the programme.
The court heard the actor has a history of speeding offences and attended a driver 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 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 from court by a friend.
A motoring enthusiast, Coogan has owned a succession of cars but stopped buying Ferraris after realising that the depreciation and running costs were greater than hiring a private plane.
Last month he sold his 1969 Aston Martin DBS V8 for more than £150,000 at the Silverstone Classics Auction.
In 2012, Coogan escaped a driving ban after saying he couldn’t remember who had been driving when his car was allegedly clocked speeding.
The actor and comedian told magistrates the identity “slipped my mind” after his Range Rover was allegedly filmed doing 39mph in a 30mph zone in Hove.
In February 2016 Coogan In February 2016, Coogan was fined £670 and banned from driving for 28 days after being caught doing 54mph in a 30mph zone in Brighton.