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Steve Coogan swerves long driving ban because of Alan Partridge show

Steve Coogan will not face a lengthy driving ban after he told a court it would stop him filming a new series featuring his Alan Partridge character.

The actor was caught driving his Porsche at 36mph in a 30mph zone near his East Sussex home – adding three points to the nine already on his licence for previous offences.

But rather than facing an automatic six-month driving ban, Coogan will only serve two months – as he argued he would be forced to cancel a travelogue series for the BBC.

In the series, which will be filmed in October, the actor will drive around the UK meeting people.

Coogan told a magistrates court: "I'm producing a travelogue follow-on TV series where I'm basically driving around Britain.

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"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's not who he is. It's part of his character that he drives."

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Mr Coogan said the shots of his character driving could not be faked.

He also argued that the 15 to 20 staff who would be working on the series, made by the Baby Cow production company, would struggle to find other work if the show was cancelled at short notice.

Image: Steve Coogan, known as a car enthusiast, at the British Grand Prix last month

The actor has a history of speeding offences and previously escaped a ban after saying he could not remember who was driving his car when the vehicle was seen speeding in Hove.

In February 2016, he was fined £670 and banned from driving for 28 days for driving at almost twice the speed limit in Brighton.

Mr Coogan, who is a car enthusiast, had also attended a drivers' awareness course just two months ago.

Admitting his behaviour needed improvement, he said: "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."

The actor was given three penalty points and banned from driving for two months.

He was also fined £750 along with £85 in court costs and a £75 victim surcharge.

The court said it had taken into account the "exceptional hardship" that staff at his production company would face if the series were cancelled.

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