Steve Coogan

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Steve Coogan
Steve Coogan 2013.jpg
BornStephen John Coogan
(1965-10-14) 14 October 1965 (age 49)
Middleton, Lancashire, England, UK
OccupationActor, comedian, writer, producer
Years active1989–present
Spouse(s)Caroline Hickman
RelativesBrendan Coogan
Martin Coogan
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from the BBC programme Desert Island Discs, 11 10 2009[1]

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Steve Coogan
Steve Coogan 2013.jpg
BornStephen John Coogan
(1965-10-14) 14 October 1965 (age 49)
Middleton, Lancashire, England, UK
OccupationActor, comedian, writer, producer
Years active1989–present
Spouse(s)Caroline Hickman
RelativesBrendan Coogan
Martin Coogan
Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.
from the BBC programme Desert Island Discs, 11 10 2009[1]

Stephen John "Steve" Coogan (born 14 October 1965)[2] is an English actor, stand-up comedian, impressionist, writer, and producer. He began his career in the 1980s, working as a voice artist on the satirical puppet show Spitting Image. In the early 1990s, he began creating original comic characters, leading him to win the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[3] In 1999, he co-founded the production company Baby Cow Productions.

While working with Armando Iannucci on The Day Today and On the Hour, Coogan created his most developed and popular character, Alan Partridge, a socially awkward and politically incorrect regional media personality. He featured in several television series, which earned him three BAFTA nominations and two wins for Best Comedy Performance.[4] A feature-length film, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, was released in 2013, and opened at number one at the British box office.[5]

Coogan grew in prominence within the film industry in 2002, after starring in The Parole Officer and 24 Hour Party People. He portrayed Phileas Fogg in the 2004 remake Around the World in 80 Days and co-starred in The Other Guys, Tropic Thunder, In the Loop, Hamlet 2, Our Idiot Brother, Ruby Sparks and the Night at the Museum films, as well as collaborating with Rob Brydon in The Trip and A Cock and Bull Story. He was also a voice actor in the animated comedy film 2013 Despicable Me 2 and its upcoming prequel Minions.

Coogan has also branched out into more dramatic roles, with What Maisie Knew, and portrayed Paul Raymond in the biopic The Look of Love. He co-wrote, produced, and starred in the film adaptation Philomena,[6] which earned him a Golden Globe and BAFTA nomination, and two Academy Award nominations (for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture). He has been cast in the lead role for the ABC television pilot Doubt and the Showtime drama Happyish.[7]

On 22 November 2011, Coogan, along with Hugh Grant, gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on phone hacking, favouring regulation of the press.[8]

Early life[edit]

Coogan was born in Middleton, Lancashire,[2] in the middle among six children.[9] He attended Cardinal Langley Roman Catholic High School.[10] He has stated that he had a happy childhood, and in addition to having four brothers and two sisters, his parents fostered children on a short-term basis.[11]

Coogan had a talent for impersonation, and wanted to go to drama school, despite being advised by a teacher that it could lead to a precarious profession.[11] After five failed applications to various drama schools within London, he received a place at the theatre company New Music before gaining a place at the Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre.[11]


Coogan began his career as a comic and impressionist, performing regularly in Ipswich, before working as a voice artist for television advertisements and the satirical puppet show Spitting Image. In 1992, Coogan won the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for his performance with long-time collaborator John Thomson, and starred alongside Caroline Aherne and John Thomson in a one-off Granada TV sketch show The Dead Good Show. His most prominent characters developed at this time were Paul Calf, a stereotypical working class Mancunian, and his sister Pauline, played by Coogan in drag.

Alan Partridge[edit]

Main article: Alan Partridge

While working with Armando Iannucci and Chris Morris on the Radio 4 comedy On the Hour, Coogan conceived his most popular and developed character, a socially awkward and politically incorrect regional media personality. He appeared as a sports presenter on the television comedy The Day Today, before hosting his own chat show, Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge. In 1997, Partridge returned in the sitcom I'm Alan Partridge, which was followed by a second series in 2002, and received five BAFTA nominations. Partridge featured in Coogan's 2008 stand-up tour.

He revisited the character in two one-off Sky Atlantic specials, including Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places of My Life, which received a further two BAFTA nominations, as well as the mockumentary Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge, which has been renewed for a second season.[12] A feature-length film, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, was released in 2013.[5]

TV roles[edit]

Paul Calf first began as a character named 'Duncan Disorderly' in Coogan's early stand-up routines. Calf first came to wider public notice in 1993, with several appearances on Saturday Zoo, a late-night variety show presented by Jonathan Ross on Channel 4. Paul has appeared in two video diaries, an episode of Coogan's Run, and in various stand-up performances. He is an unemployed Mancunian wastrel with a particular hatred of students. His catchphrase is "Bag o' shite". Paul lives in a council house in the fictional town of Ottle with his mother and his sister, Pauline Calf (also played by Coogan). His father, Pete Calf (played by Coogan in Coogan's Run) died some time before the first video diary was made. For a long time he was obsessed with getting back together with his ex-girlfriend, Julie. Paul's best friend is "Fat" Bob (played by John Thomson), a car mechanic who eventually married Pauline. Paul supports Manchester City and is very partial to Wagon Wheels. He wears Burton suits, sports a bleached mullet and drives a Ford Cortina.

Other Coogan creations include Tommy Saxondale, Duncan Thicket and Portuguese Eurovision Song Contest winner Tony Ferrino. Duncan Thicket has appeared in a tour of live shows. Other TV shows he has starred in include Coogan's Run, Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible, Monkey Trousers and Saxondale. Coogan has provided voices for the animated series I Am Not an Animal and Bob and Margaret, two Christmas specials featuring Robbie the Reindeer, and an episode of the BBC Radio Four spoof sci-fi series Nebulous.

He starred in BBC2's The Private Life of Samuel Pepys in 2003, and Cruise of the Gods in 2002. In 2006, he had a cameo in the Little Britain Christmas special as a pilot taking Lou and Andy to Disneyland. In 2007, Coogan played a psychiatrist on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, and in 2008, starred in the BBC1 drama Sunshine.

In 2010, he reunited with actor Rob Brydon and director Michael Winterbottom (both of whom he had worked with on the 2006 film A Cock and Bull Story (see Film Roles below)), for the partially improvised BBC2 sitcom The Trip, in which he and Brydon do a tour of northern restaurants, which he is writing up for The Observer. The Trip was nominated for a 2011 Television BAFTA for Best Situation Comedy, and Coogan won Best Male Performance in a Comedy Role.[13]

He provided the voices of Philip Masterson-Bowie (a horse) and Mark Andrews (a sparrow) for the animated comedy series I Am Not an Animal.[14] He was also the voice of Satan on Neighbors from Hell. In December 2011, Coogan voiced Roger Mellie and Tracey Tunstall of The Fat Slags in three Viz Comedy Blaps for Channel 4.[15] He voiced a cruise-ship director in The Simpsons episode "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again".[16]

Coogan co-stars in Moone Boy, along with Johnny Vegas and Chris O'Dowd, who also wrote the show. The series is a co-production between Sprout Pictures, who produced the original Little Crackers short, Baby Cow Productions, Hod Cod Productions and Grand Pictures, and began filming in early 2012 on location in Boyle and Dublin, Ireland. He also returned with his character Alan Partridge, in Alan Partridge – Welcome to the Places of My Life, which aired on Sky Atlantic. It was stated, by several critics and news papers, that the show has been highly anticipated, and was generally well received.[17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25]

Film roles[edit]

Michael Winterbottom, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon at the Ryerson Theatre in Toronto for the screening of Tristram Shandy (14 September 2005)

Notable film roles include Factory Records boss Tony Wilson in the film 24 Hour Party People, Mole in Terry Jones' The Wind in the Willows, Phileas Fogg in a comical version of Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days from Disney, with Jackie Chan, Ambassador Mercy in Marie Antoinette, Bruce Tick in Sweet Revenge, and Octavius in Night at the Museum (a role he reprised in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian). He has also played himself three times on screen. First, in one of the vignettes of Jim Jarmusch's 2003 film Coffee and Cigarettes, alongside Alfred Molina. Second, in 2006 Coogan starred with Rob Brydon in Michael Winterbottom's A Cock and Bull Story, a self-referential film of the "unfilmable" self-referential novel Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne. In the film, Coogan plays a fictional, womanising version of himself. Thirdly he played himself in the 2010 film The Trip. He worked again with director Winterbottom in The Look Of Love, about '50s porn-king Paul Raymond.

The first film which he co-wrote with Henry Normal was The Parole Officer, in which he also acted alongside Ben Miller and Lena Headey. Coogan has an uncredited cameo in Hot Fuzz, scripted by Shaun of the Dead writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.

Coogan's most acclaimed work to date is the drama-comedy Philomena, which he co-wrote, produced, and starred in with Judi Dench[26] This performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination, among many other nominations (and some wins). Philomena was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture (and Dench for Best Actress).


Coogan's show Steve Coogan in character with John Thomson was winner of the Perrier Award for best show at the 1992 Edinburgh Fringe. He has won numerous awards for his work in TV including British Comedy Awards, BAFTAs and The South Bank Show award for comedy. In 2003, he was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. In 2005, a poll to find the Comedians' Comedian saw him being voted amongst the top 20 greatest comedy acts ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.[27]

Stand-up comedy comeback tour[edit]

In March 2008, it was confirmed that Coogan would return to doing stand-up comedy as part of his first stand-up tour in ten years. The tour, named "Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge and other less successful characters", saw the return of some of his old characters including Paul Calf and Alan Partridge.[28] Reviews of the opening night were mixed,[29] and such reviews continued as the tour progressed.[30][31] Much of the criticism focused on the apparent unrehearsed quality of some of the performances and nervous stage presence of Coogan's. Chortle comedy guide wrote "Steve Coogan’s stage comeback after ten years is most definitely a show of two halves: the superlative Alan Partridge plus a collection of characters that are not only less successful, but woefully less funny."[32]

In 2009 Coogan was featured, alongside Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and Julia Davis, in the spoof documentary TV film Steve Coogan - The Inside Story.[33]

Production work[edit]

Coogan, along with his writing partner Henry Normal, founded Baby Cow Productions in 1999. Together, they have served as executive producers for shows such as The Mighty Boosh, Nighty Night, Marion and Geoff, Gavin and Stacey, Human Remains and Moone Boy, as well as the Alan Partridge feature film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. They have also produced Where Are the Joneses?, an online sitcom which uses wiki technology to allow the audience to upload scripts and storyline ideas.[34]

In the media[edit]

Coogan said he "liked to keep himself private", adding; "I have never wanted to be famous, as such – fame is a by-product".[35] He has been a popular target of the British tabloid press since 1996, who he stated have subjected him to entrapment and blackmail, printed obvious falsehoods about him,[36] also targeting his family and friends in attempts to extract stories from them.[37]

Coogan in some cases gave a strong denial to allegations, but in others did not contest them because he wanted to shield vulnerable friends from adverse publicity.[38] The tabloids also published intrusive information about his relationships and the schooling of his child. Coogan has also been critical of the broadsheet press, saying they have colluded with the tabloids in the interests of selling newspapers. In 2005 he said "The Guardian tends to have its cake and eat it. It waits for the tabloids to dish the dirt and then it talks about the tabloids dishing the dirt while enjoying it themselves."[39] However, Coogan later gave credit to the same newspaper for its investigation of the phone hacking scandal.[40] Coogan said that because of the persistent intrusion into his private life, the press had effectively made him "immune" to further attack, as his "closet is empty of skeletons".[41]

Phone hacking[edit]

Coogan became a prominent figure in the News International phone hacking scandal as one of the celebrities who took action against the British tabloids in light of these events. He was made aware by his phone service provider of "possible anomalies" on his phone in 2005 and 2006.[42] In 2010, Coogan's legal firm obtained a partially redacted version of Glenn Mulcaire's hacking notebook by a court order which showed Coogan had been targeted and his personal information was in the possession of Mulcaire.

Mulcaire was forced by the High Court of Justice to disclose to Coogan's legal team who amongst the staff at the News of the World ordered him to hack phones. This information was obtained by Coogan's lawyers on 26 August 2011.[43] Interviewed on Newsnight on 8 July 2011, Coogan said he was "delighted" by the closure of the News of the World and said it was a "fantastic day for journalism". He said the idea of press freedom was used by the tabloids as a "smokescreen for selling papers with tittle-tattle" and said the argument against press regulation was "morally bankrupt"[40]

Coogan provided an 8-page witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry and appeared at the inquiry on 22 November 2011 to discuss the evidence.[37] He said he was there reluctantly representing a lot of celebrities who felt they could not speak out for fear of reprisals from the tabloid press.[44]

Personal life[edit]

Coogan's younger brother, Brendan, is a former Top Gear presenter, and his elder brother, Martin, was the lead singer of the early 1990s band the Mock Turtles. All three attended the Cardinal Langley RC High School.[45] Although brought up Catholic, Coogan now describes himself as an atheist.[46] Coogan married Caroline Hickman in 2002, and divorced in 2005.[47] Coogan entered rehab for personal issues.[48] He dated model China Chow for three years.[49] In March 2011 Coogan was guest editor for lads mag Loaded, where he met and began dating glamour model Elle Basey.[50] The couple are still together.[50][51] He has a daughter, Clare, from a previous relationship with solicitor Anna Cole [52]

In 2011, he purchased the eight-bedroom manor Ovingdean Grange, in Ovingdean, for a reported £2.45 million.[53][54]

Coogan supports the Labour Party.[55] He believes that Conservatives think "people are plebs" and that "they like to pat people on the head".[56] In August 2014, Coogan was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[57]

A noted car enthusiast, he has had a succession of Ferraris, but stopped buying them after realising that the depreciation and running costs were greater than hiring a private plane.[58]


Feature films[edit]

1995The Indian in the CupboardTommy Atkins
1996The Wind in the WillowsMole
1998Sweet RevengeBruce Tick
2001The Parole OfficerSimon GardenWriter
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
200224 Hour Party PeopleTony WilsonNominated – Empire Award for Best British Actor
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
2003Coffee and CigarettesSteveSegment: "Cousins?"
2004Ella EnchantedHeston the snakeVoice only
Around the World in 80 DaysPhileas Fogg
2005Happy EndingsCharleyNominated – Satellite Award for Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical
A Cock and Bull StoryTristram Shandy / Walter Shandy / Steve Coogan
2006The AlibiRay Elliot
Night at the MuseumOctavius
Marie AntoinetteAmbassador Mercy
2007For the Love of GodGraham
Hot FuzzMetropolitan Police InspectorUncredited
2008Finding AmandaMichael Henry
Tales of the RiverbankRoderickVoice only
Tropic ThunderDamien Cockburn
Hamlet 2Dana Marschz
2009What Goes UpCampbell BabbittProducer
In the LoopPaul Michaelson
Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the SmithsonianOctavius
2010Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning ThiefHades
The Other GuysDavid Ershon
MarmadukeRaisinVoice only
2011The TripSteve CooganU.S. film edit
Our Idiot BrotherDylan
2012Ruby SparksLangdon Tharp
What Maisie KnewBeale
2013The Look of LovePaul Raymond
Alan Partridge: Alpha PapaAlan PartridgeWriter
Despicable Me 2Silas RamsbottomVoice only
PhilomenaMartin SixsmithWriter (With Jeff Pope)/Producer
Best Screenplay, Venice Film Festival (With Jeff Pope)
Best Movie About Women, Women Film Critics Circle
BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Best Adapted Screenplay (with Jeff Pope) Best Adapted Screenplay
Pending – Best Film
Nominated – Best Adapted Screenplay (with Jeff Pope)Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best British Film
Nominated - Best Adapted Screenplay (with Jeff Pope)Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated - British Actor of the Year London Film Critics' Circle
Nominated - British Film of the Year London Film Critics' Circle
Nominated - Screenwriter of the Year (with Jeff Pope) London Film Critics' Circle
Nominated – Best Actor
Nominated – Best British Independent Film
Nominated – Best Adapted Screenplay (with Jeff Pope) BIFA Awards
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Film
Nominated – San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated – Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival
2014The Trip to ItalySteve CooganU.S. film edit
Night at the Museum: Secret of the TombOctavius
Northern SoulMr. Banks


1987Spitting ImageVarious charactersVoice only
1992The Dead Good ShowVarious characters
1993The Smell of Reeves and MortimerLead singer of Go West1 episode
HarryStebbings2 episodes
Saturday ZooPaul Calf/Pauline Calf
1994The Day TodayVarious charactersWriter
7 episodes
1995Coogan's RunWriter
6 episodes
1994–1995Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan PartridgeAlan PartridgeWriter
7 episodes
1996Tales from the CryptDanny Skeggs1 episode
1997The Friday Night ArmisticeAlan Partridge
The FixMike Gabbett
The Tony Ferrino PhenomenonTony Ferrino
1997–2002I'm Alan PartridgeAlan PartridgeWriter
12 episodes
1998Bob and MargaretVarious characters1 episode
1999Hooves of FireBlitzenVoice only
Mrs Merton and MalcolmVarious characters6 episodes (5 as voice only)
2001Combat SheepCommander HarrisExecutive producer
Voice only
A Small Summer PartyGeoffExecutive producer
Dr. Terrible's House of HorribleVarious charactersWriter and executive producer
6 episodes
2002Cruise of the GodsNick LeeExecutive producer
Legend of the Lost TribeBlitzenVoice only
2002, 2004, 2006Top GearHimselfSeries 1, Episode 4, Series 5 Episode 4, Series 8 Episode 7
2003The Private Life of Samuel PepysSamuel Pepys
Anglian Lives: Alan PartridgeAlan PartridgeWriter
2004I Am Not An AnimalVarious charactersVoice only
Executive producer
6 episodes
2005Monkey TrousersExecutive producer
5 episodes
2006Little BritainPilot1 episode
2006–2007SaxondaleTommy SaxondaleWriter and executive producer
13 episodes
2007Curb Your EnthusiasmDr. Bright1 episode
2008SunshineBing Crosby3 episodes
2010Neighbors from HellSatan6 episodes
2010–2011Mid Morning Matters with Alan PartridgeAlan PartridgeWriter
12 episodes
2010The TripSteve Coogan6 episodes
2012The SimpsonsRowan PriddisVoice only
Episode: "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again"
Moone BoyFrancie "Touchie" Feeley1 episode
2014The Trip to ItalySteve Coogan6 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

1992In Character with John ThompsonPerrier Comedy AwardBest Comedy ShowWon
1994Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan PartridgeBritish Comedy AwardsBest Male TV PerformerWon
1995Pauline Calf's Wedding VideoBAFTAsBest Comedy PerformanceNominated
Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan PartridgeBest Light Entertainment PerformanceNominated
1998I'm Alan PartridgeBritish Comedy AwardsBest TV Comedy ActorWon
BAFTAsBest Comedy PerformanceWon
Best Comedy (Programme or Series)Won
2002The Parole OfficerBAFTA Award for Best NewcomerNominated
2003Cruise of the GodsBritish Comedy AwardsBest TV Comedy ActorWon
I'm Alan PartridgeBAFTAsBest Comedy PerformanceNominated
Royal Television SocietyNominated
24 Hour Party PeopleEmpire AwardsBest British ActorNominated
Online Film Critics SocietyBest Breakthrough PerformanceNominated
2005Happy EndingsSatellite AwardBest Supporting ActorNominated
2011The TripBAFTAsBest Male Comedy PerformanceWon[59]
2013Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places of My LifeBAFTAsBest Male Comedy PerformanceWon
2014PhilomenaAcademy AwardsBest PictureNominated
Best Writing – Adapted ScreenplayNominated
BAFTAsBest Writing - Adapted ScreenplayWon
Best British FilmNominated
Best FilmNominated

Stand-up releases[edit]

1994Live 'N' Lewd
1998Live – The Man Who Thinks He's It
2009As Alan Partridge And Other Less Successful Characters – Live


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External links[edit]