Alan Partridge helps Steve Coogan swerve lengthy driving ban

Toblerones all round.

Steve Coogan has escaped a lengthy driving ban today – and it’s all thanks to his Alan Partridge alter-ego.

Coogan, who was clocked driving his Porsche at 36mph in a 30mph zone close to his home in East Sussex, successfully argued that his new series could not be filmed on public transport – because Alan Partridge wouldn’t use public transport.

Coogan had three points added to his licence for the speeding offence but because he had nine points from previous offences, the actor faced an automatic six-month ban.

Listening to Coogan’s argument, magistrates in Crawley decided to ban him from driving for two months instead of six, after hearing that a lengthier period would force his upcoming Alan Partridge travelogue series to be cancelled. The show, which will see Partridge driving around various UK locations, is due to begin filming in October.

“You couldn’t put him on a train because that not who he is. It’s part of his character that he drives.” Coogan also argued that the driving shots couldn’t be faked in any way.

“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 told the court that he was taking steps to improve his driving: “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.”

Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge

Coogan also told the court that the cancellation of the show would lead to 15-20 professionals, who had been hired to work on the show, losing their jobs at short notice – something that was taken into account by Ann Schroder, the chair of the magistrates bench.

Magistrates gave Coogan three penalty points and disqualified him from driving for two months. They fined him £750 with £85 court costs and a £75 victim surcharge.

This Time With Alan Partridge debuted on BBC One back in March. Praising the show on Twitter, one fan wrote: “This Time with Alan Partridge has been on 12 minutes and it’s already funnier than anything else BBC have put out in the last 10 years. We don’t deserve Coogan at all.”

Another argued: “This Time with #AlanPartridge is sublime. Finally some excellent British comedy back on the BBC.”