Steve Coogan

Steve Coogan
Steve Coogan

Holding a producer credit for The 1 Second Film in January 2005
Born Stephen John Coogan
14 October 1965 (1965-10-14) (age 46)
Middleton, Lancashire, England
Occupation Actor, Comedian, Writer, Producer
Spouse Caroline Hickman
(m. 2002–2005; divorced)
Relatives Brendan Coogan, Martin Coogan (brothers)

Stephen John "Steve" Coogan (born 14 October 1965) is an English comedian, actor, writer and producer.

His best known character in the United Kingdom is Alan Partridge, a socially awkward and politically incorrect regional media personality, who featured in several television series, such as The Day Today, Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge and I'm Alan Partridge. Outside the UK, Coogan is better known for his roles in films such as 24 Hour Party People, Night at the Museum, Tropic Thunder, Hamlet 2, and The Other Guys.

On 22 November 2011, Coogan gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on phone hacking.


Early life

Coogan is one of seven children born to Kathleen (née Coonan), a homemaker, and Anthony Coogan, an IBM engineer.[1][2][3] He was born in his parents' house and raised in Alkrington,[4][5] a suburb of Middleton, north of Manchester, in an Irish working class family.[6] Coogan was raised as a Roman Catholic.[7][8][9] He had a happy childhood growing up with four brothers and two sisters, and in addition his parents fostered children on a short-term basis, sometimes accommodating two or three foster children at a time.[4] 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.[4]

He went to five interviews for drama school in London, and then – after gaining confidence by joining a theatre company in Manchester called New Music – gained a place at the Manchester Polytechnic School of Theatre.[4] Coogan's brother Martin was the vocalist and wrote the music for The Mock Turtles,[4] a successful indie rock band in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Coogan started out as a comic and mimic in Ipswich, as well as doing voice-over work for adverts and impressions on Spitting Image. In 1988, he did impressions of Prince Charles which featured on the Urban label release "Don't Believe the Hype" by acid house artist Mista E. The impressions were also used as jingles in 1988/89 on the BBC Radio 1 FM Friday night dance music show Jeff Young's Big Beat.

In 1993 Coogan starred alongside Caroline Aherne and John Thomson in a one-off Granada TV sketch show The Dead Good Show.

Alan Partridge

Coogan collaborated with Chris Morris and Armando Iannucci, amongst others, on the Radio 4 comedy show On the Hour, where he helped give birth to his most famous creation, Alan Partridge. Alan went on to have his own radio show, as well as appearing on TV in The Day Today and his own chat show, Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge. In 1997, he returned with the sitcom I'm Alan Partridge, which was followed by a second series in 2002. Partridge is part of Coogan's 2008 stand-up tour, and an Alan Partridge movie is[when?] in production.[10]

Other TV roles

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 Manchester 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 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 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, the one-off BBC2 comedy about sheep Combat Sheep, two Christmas specials starring Robbie the Reindeer, and an episode of the BBC Radio Four spoof sci-fi series Nebulous.

During the 1989 series of The Krypton Factor, Coogan was invited to participate in a series of mini-movies for the observation round.

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.[11]

He provided the voices of Philip Masterson-Bowie (a horse) and Mark Andrews (a sparrow) for animated comedy series I Am Not an Animal.[12] He was also the voice of Satan on Neighbors from Hell.

Film roles

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 remake of Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days with Jackie Chan, Ambassador Mercy in Marie Antoinette, Bruce Tick in Sweet Revenge, and Octavius in Night at the Museum. 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, womanizing version of himself. Thirdly he played himself in the 2010 film The Trip.

The first film, which he co-wrote with Henry Normal, was The Parole Officer. He also acted in this 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. He stars as a failed actor turned high school drama teacher in the 2008 film Hamlet 2 and had a role in Tropic Thunder. It was announced on 8 August 2007, that he is also to star in a film adaptation of the life of Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards,[13] which is still in pre-production.[14] In 2009, he also starred as a lying reporter in What Goes Up with Olivia Thirlby, Molly Shannon and Hilary Duff. Also recently, he appeared in Finding Amanda alongside Brittany Snow and Matthew Broderick, returned as Octavius in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, and played Hades in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.


Year Film Role Notes
1989 Resurrected Youth 2
1995 The Indian in the Cupboard Tommy Atkins
1996 The Wind in the Willows Mole
1998 Alice Through the Looking Glass Gnat
1998 Sweet Revenge Bruce Tick
2001 The Parole Officer Simon Garden Also Writer
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
2002 24 Hour Party People Tony Wilson Nominated – Empire Award for Best British Actor
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
2003 Coffee and Cigarettes Steve Segment: Cousins?
2004 Ella Enchanted Heston the snake Voice Only
Around the World in 80 Days Phileas Fogg
2005 Happy Endings Charley Nominated – Satellite Award for Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical
A Cock and Bull Story Tristram Shandy/ Walter Shandy/ Steve Coogan
2006 The Alibi Ray Elliot
Night at the Museum Octavius
Marie Antoinette Ambassador Mercy
2006-2007 Saxondale Tommy Saxondale
2007 For the Love of God Graham
Hot Fuzz Metropolitan Police Inspector Uncredited
2008 Finding Amanda Michael Henry
Tales of the Riverbank Roderick Voice Only
Tropic Thunder Damien Cockburn
Hamlet 2 Dana Marschz
2009 What Goes Up Campbell Babbitt Also Producer
In the Loop Paul Michaelson Chlotrudis Award for Best Cast
Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian Octavius
2010 Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Hades
The Other Guys David Ershon
Marmaduke Raisin Voice Only
2011 The Trip Steve Coogan Limited Release
Our Idiot Brother Dylan


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.

Awards and nominations

Year Nominated For Award Category Result
1994 Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge British Comedy Awards Best Male TV Performer Won
1995 Pauline Calf's Wedding Video BAFTAs Best Comedy Performance Nominated
1995 Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge BAFTAs Best Light Entertainment Performance Nominated
1998 I'm Alan Partridge British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Actor Won
1998 I'm Alan Partridge BAFTAs Best Comedy Performance Won
1998 I'm Alan Partridge BAFTAs Best Comedy (Programme or Series) Won
2002 The Parole Officer BAFTAs BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer Nominated
2003 Cruise of the Gods British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Actor Won
2003 I'm Alan Partridge BAFTAs Best Comedy Performance Nominated
2003 I'm Alan Partridge Royal Television Society Best Comedy Performance Nominated
2003 24 Hour Party People Empire Awards Best British Actor Nominated
2003 24 Hour Party People Online Film Critics Society Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
2005 Happy Endings Satellite Award Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2010 In the Loop Chlotrudis Award Best Cast Won
2011 The Trip BAFTAs Best Male Comedy Performance Won[15]

Awards and Nominations sourced from IMDb 2/12/2010

Comeback to Stand-Up Comedy

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.[10] Reviews of the opening night were mixed[16] and such reviews continued as the tour progressed.[17][18]

Production company

Coogan, along with writing partner Henry Normal, founded Baby Cow Productions in 1999. Together they are the executive producers for such shows as The Mighty Boosh, starring Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt, Nighty Night, starring Julia Davis, Marion and Geoff, starring Rob Brydon, and Human Remains, starring Davis and Brydon. Baby Cow Productions' latest[when?] venture is Where Are the Joneses, an online sitcom which uses wiki technology to allow the audience to upload scripts and storyline ideas.[19]

Personal life

One of his brothers, Brendan, is a former Top Gear presenter, and another, Martin, was the lead singer of the early 1990s band The Mock Turtles. All the brothers attended the Cardinal Langley RC High School.

A favourite of the British tabloids, Coogan's personal life has made headlines since the early 1990s. In August 2005, the News of the World stated that rock star Courtney Love had claimed to be pregnant with Coogan's child, following a two-week long fling the pair allegedly had while staying at the same hotel, although this claim has been dismissed by both parties.[20] The story was published a month after Coogan's divorce from Caroline Hickman,[21] whom he had married in 2002. He lives in Brighton to be close to Clare, his daughter from a previous relationship.[22]

On the commentary for Series 2 of I'm Alan Partridge, Coogan states that he is a socialist who enjoys paying taxes, whilst discussing the eponymous character's investigation by the Inland Revenue.

Coogan reportedly has a wealth of £5 million and supports the Labour Party.

A well 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.[23] He helped Jeremy Clarkson test a Ferrari 575M against an Aston Martin Vanquish S on the fifth series of Top Gear. Coogan currently drives one of the final air-cooled Porsche 911 Carrera 4s.[22]

Stand-up VHS and DVDs

  • Live 'N' Lewd (7 November 1994)
  • Live – The Man Who Thinks He's It (9 November 1998)
  • As Alan Partridge And Other Less Successful Characters – Live (30 November 2009)


  1. ^ "Steve Coogan, weathering the storms". London: Times. 27 April 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2009. 
  2. ^ "Steve Coogan in persons". London: Telegraph. 2 August 1997. Retrieved 20 February 2009. 
  3. ^ Cummins, Fiona (22 August 2005). "COOGAN: LOVE'S BABY CLAIM IS 'NONSENSE'". Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Desert Island Discs with Steve Coogan". Desert Island Discs. BBC. Radio 4. 18 October 2009.
  5. ^ "Soccer star parents in robbery terror – News – Middleton Guardian". Middleton Guardian. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  6. ^ "Comedy – People A-Z – Steve Coogan". BBC. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "Steve Coogan Facts". BBC entertainment. Retrieved May 13, 2010. :(Commentary; "He grew up in a working-class, Irish Catholic family, with his father Tony working as an engineer for IBM and his mother Kathleen acting as a homemaker.")
  8. ^ Pearson, Allison (August 2, 1997). "Steve Coogan in persons". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved May 13, 2010. :(Commentary; "He likes to top up his resistance by regular visits home to his large Catholic family (Steve is the middle one of six) in a comfortable suburb of north Manchester.")
  9. ^ Reed, Chris (March 30, 2009). "Character reference". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "First live dates in a decade". Retrieved 2 November 2008. 
  11. ^ "Television Awards Nominees and Winners in 2011 - Television - Awards - The BAFTA site".,1766,BA.html. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  12. ^ ""I Am Not an Animal" (2004)". IMDB. Retrieved 4 January 2008. 
  13. ^ "Coogan to play Eddie 'The Eagle'". BBC News Online. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2007. 
  14. ^ "Eddie the Eagle". Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  15. ^ "Television Awards Nominees and Winners in 2011 - Television - Awards - The BAFTA site".,1766,BA.html#jump18. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  16. ^ "Steve Coogan fails to sparkle". Retrieved 2 November 2008. 
  17. ^ "Nothing to laugh at for Steve Coogan's angry fans". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 2 November 2008. 
  18. ^ Brown, Jonathan (17 October 2008). "Alan Partridge's less successful show". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2 November 2008. 
  19. ^ "Where are the Joneses?". Retrieved 2 November 2008. 
  20. ^ "Love and Coogan deny baby claim". BBC. 22 August 2005. Retrieved 2 November 2008. 
  21. ^ "Coogan's wife is granted divorce". BBC. 28 July 2005. Retrieved 2 November 2008. 
  22. ^ a b "The way I live: Steve Coogan". Daily Mail. 24 August 2007. Retrieved 9 September 2008. 
  23. ^ "The Life and Opinions of Steve Coogan". London: The Guardian. 21 October 2005. Retrieved 9 September 2008. 

External links

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