Steve Coogan has argued that the closure of the News Of The World is a “small victory for decency and humanity”.
Speaking on BBC2‘s Newsnight last night (July 8), the Alan Partridge actor said that the publication of the final issue of the scandal-hit Sunday newspaper tomorrow (10) will be a “wonderful day for the press”.
Coogan sued the News Of The World earlier this year over allegations that his phone was hacked by private investigators working on behalf of the newspaper.
The publication’s former editor Andy Coulson was arrested yesterday (9) amid allegations that thousands of celebrities and public figures, along with the families of crime victims, had been illegally hacked.
“People knew this was going on but they accepted it – they accepted it was part of the landscape,” Coogan commented.
The A Cock And Bull Story star later took part in a live debate about the issue with former BBC Director General Greg Dyke and ex-News Of The World features editor Paul McMullen – you can watch footage of the heated scenes by scrolling down and clicking below.
During an angry exchange, Coogan regularly clashed with McMullen, particularly over the journalist and paparazzo’s assertion that hacking into celebrities’ phones was a “small price to pay” for maintaining a free press.
McMullen later pointed out that the Coogan had appeared in films made by the Rupert Murdoch-owned company 20th Century Fox.
“You take £5 million a movie [from Murdoch’s company] and then you bleat about someone – ‘Oh, he’s listened to my messages’,” McMullen said.
“I deal with Rupert Murdoch already, I deal with his organisation,” Coogan retorted.
Earlier this year, Coogan confirmed that his much-delayed Alan Partridge movie is going ahead, with shooting starting next year.