Steve Coogan has avoided a six-month driving ban for speeding after telling the court that a hefty absence from the road could scupper an upcoming Alan Partridge series.
The 53-year-old comedian faced an automatic six-month ban after he was caught speeding in January, with nine points already on his licence, Metro reported.
He appeared at Crawley Magistrates Court after being clocked by an automatic camera driving his Porsche at 36mph in a 30mph zone.
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Coogan admitted that his driving record was poor, including a speed awareness course just two months ago, but said such a lengthy confiscation of his licence would put the brakes on a new Partridge show for the BBC.
“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.”
Coogan told magistrates that shots of his iconic character behind the wheel could not be faked due to the elaborate camera setup.
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He revealed that production company Baby Cow has hired between 15 to 20 people to work on the project, who might struggle for work if the show had to be cancelled ahead of the planned production start in October.
Ann Schroder, chair of the magistrates bench, said she acknowledged the “exceptional hardship” those crew members would face if the show were to be shelved.
Coogan was banned from the road for two months and handed a £750 fine, as well as paying costs of £85 and a £75 victim surcharge.
He returned to BBC screens as Alan Partridge with this year’s well-received six-episode series This Time with Alan Partridge.
The series was the first Partridge production for the BBC since I’m Alan Partridge concluded in 2002, though the character has been kept alive through collaborations with Sky and the 2013 movie Alpha Papa.
Several books written by the character have also been released.