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Court spares Steve Coogan full driving ban so new Alan Partridge series is not cancelled

The Independent logo The Independent 13/08/2019 Zamira Rahim

BBC handout photo of Steve Coogan as his comic creation Alan Partridge who will return for a new show This Time With Alan Partridge © PA BBC handout photo of Steve Coogan as his comic creation Alan Partridge who will return for a new show This Time With Alan Partridge Steve Coogan has escaped a full six-month driving ban despite speeding after a magistrates court took into account the “hardship” it would cause for people working on the new Alan Partridge series.

The actor and comedian was caught driving at 36mph in a 30mph zone near his East Sussex home in January.

The 53-year-old faced being handed three points on his licence for the offence.

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Coogan already has nine points on his licence from previous offences.

If he had accumulated 12 points, he would have been handed an automatic six month driving ban.

But magistrates in Crawley decided to hand him a two month ban instead after he told the court that a full ban would force him to cancel an Alan Partridge travelogue series he is set to make for the BBC.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 06:  Steve Coogan filming as Alan Partridge seen outside the BBC studios on May 6, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Simon James/GC Images) © 2018 Simon James LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 06: Steve Coogan filming as Alan Partridge seen outside the BBC studios on May 6, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Simon James/GC Images) Coogan said the series, which he is due to start filming in October, sees the comedy character driving to various locations around the UK.

“I’m producing a travelogue follow on TV series where I’m basically driving around Britain,” he said.

“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.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21:  Steve Coogan seen filming scenes for a new season of Alan Partridge in Soho on February 21, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Neil Mockford/GC Images) © 2018 Neil Mockford LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: Steve Coogan seen filming scenes for a new season of Alan Partridge in Soho on February 21, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Neil Mockford/GC Images) The comedian said the camera shots could not be faked because he has to be seen driving the vehicle himself.

“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,” he added.

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

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Ann Schroder, chair of the magistrates bench, said the court had taken into account the “exceptional hardship” it would cause other TV professionals if the Alan Partridge travelogue had to be cancelled.

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

Coogan was given three penalty points, but was only banned from driving for two months instead of six. He was also fined £750.

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