Comedian and actor Steve Coogan leaves Crawley Magistrates’ Court this morning
Comedian and actor Steve Coogan escaped a lengthy driving ban today after claiming it would force him to cancel his BBC One 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 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 have meant he would have had 12 points and faced an automatic six-month ban under the totting up procedure.
However, magistrates in Crawley decided to hand Coogan a two-month ban after hearing a sixth-month suspension 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 as Alan Partridge, next to his long-suffering assistant Lynn Benfield, in the BBC show
Coogan stands next to a car in a publicity photograph for I’m Alan Partridge in November 2002
Wearing a blue suit, white shirt and tie, 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.
The comedian was driven away from the court in Crawley today by a friend in a Range Rover
Coogan, pictured at the court in Crawley today, was caught driving at 36mph in a 30mph zone
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.’
How Coogan talked his way out of a six-month driving ban in court
Steve Coogan could have been given a six-month driving ban after facing a three-point endorsement for speeding.
He already had nine points from previous motoring offences and a further three points would have meant he would have had 12 points.
This would have given him a six-month ban under the totting up procedure.
But magistrates gave him a two-month ban after he successfully argued against a sixth-month suspension.
Coogan said his Baby Cow production firm has lined up 15 to 20 professionals to work on the series, who would struggle to find alternative work if he cancelled it.
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.
Coogan is pictured driving a car in character as Alan Partridge. He will soon starting filming a TV travelogue, which sees the comedy character driving to various locations meeting people
She said: ‘We have also taken into account your driving record which is not very good.’
Coogan’s previous court appearances for motoring offences
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 told magistrates the identity ‘slipped my mind’ after his Range Rover was allegedly clocked doing 39mph in a 30mph zone in Hove.
In February 2016, Coogan was fined £670 and banned from driving for 28 days after being caught speeding at almost twice the speed limit.
The comedian was clocked doing 54mph in a 30mph zone in a £25,000 MX-5 in Brighton, East Sussex.
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 Range Rover.
Coogan, who is a father-of-one, was nominated for a best actor at the BAFTAs for his depiction of comedian Stan Laurel in Stan and Ollie.
A motoring enthusiast, he has owned a succession of cars including Ferraris, Mazdas, Range Rovers and Porsches.
He 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 – which is capable of a top speed of 160mph – for more than £150,000 at the Silverstone Classics Auction.