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Steve Coogan fends off long driving ban to save new Alan Partridge series

Speeding: Steve Coogan at court

STEVE COOGAN has escaped a lengthy driving ban after claiming it would stop him filming a new Alan Partridge series.

The comedian, 53, was caught driving his Porsche at 36mph in a 30mph zone near his £4million home in Halland, East Sussex in January, which merits a three-point penalty.

He already had nine points from previous motoring offences and faced an automatic six-month driving ban under the ‘totting up’ procedure. However, magistrates imposed a two-month ban after hearing that anything longer would force him to cancel a new BBC series in which his character drives around Britain meeting people.

Coogan told the court: ‘The series is a travelogue. You couldn’t put him (Partridge) on a train because that is not who he is — it’s part of his character that he drives.’

The Bafta-winner said his Baby Cow production company had lined up 15 to 20 professionals to work on the series — which starts filming in October — and they would struggle to find alternative work.

Coogan admitted his driving record was not good, but said: ‘I’m trying to slow down and I try to observe the average speed limits. 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 bench at Crawley magistrates’ court, said she had taken into account the ‘exceptional hardship’ it would cause TV professionals if Coogan’s series was cancelled. She also handed him three penalty points and fined him £910.