British funnyman Steve Coogan had a six-month driving ban cut after arguing a lengthier penalty would sink a new Alan Partridge series.
The Stan & Ollie star was caught driving his Porsche at 36 miles (58 kilometres) per hour in a 30 mph (48 kph) zone close to his mansion in East Sussex, England in January, earning him three penalty points on his driving licence. As he already had nine points from previous offences, he faced an automatic six-month ban.
However, magistrates in Crawley, England instead decided to ban him for just two months after hearing that six months off the road would force him to cancel an Alan Partridge travelogue series he is set to make for the BBC in October – potentially putting jobs at risk.
According to The Guardian, Coogan told the court that driving is an integral part of the bumbling TV presenter’s character.
“I’m producing a travelogue follow-on TV series where I’m basically driving around Britain. 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,” he said, claiming the series could not be conducted on public transport.
He said 15 and 20 staff had been taken on by his production company Baby Cow and their jobs would be at risk if the series was cancelled.
Magistrates instead handed him three penalty points and disqualified him from driving for two months. They also fined him $904 (£750) with $102 (£85) court costs and a $90 (£75) victim surcharge.
The 53-year-old has a history of past motoring offences and was fined $808 (£670) and banned from driving for 28 days in February 2016 after he was clocked speeding at almost twice the limit in Brighton, East Sussex.
Coogan told the court he is “trying to slow down” and now uses a car with an automatic cruise control device in order to stay within speed limits.