Coogan at the 2013
Toronto International Film Festival
|Born||Stephen John Coogan
14 October 1965
Middleton, Lancashire, England
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, writer, producer|
Stephen John "Steve" Coogan (born 14 October 1965) 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. 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. A feature-length film, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, was released in 2013, and opened at number one at the British box office.
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 films Despicable Me 2 and its prequel Minions, and played Hades in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.
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, 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.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 In the media
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Filmography
- 6 Awards and nominations
- 7 Stand-up releases
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Coogan was born in Middleton, Lancashire. He is the fourth of seven children born to Kathleen (née Coonan), a housewife, and Anthony Coogan, an IBM engineer. He was raised Roman Catholic, in a working class family. His mother is Irish-born, from Mayo, and his father is of Irish descent. He attended Cardinal Langley Roman Catholic High School. 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.
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. 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, where he met fellow future stars John Thomson and Caroline Aherne.
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.
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. A feature-length film, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, was released in 2013.
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 played the Gnat in the 1998 TV adaptation of Alice Through the Looking Glass starring Kate Beckinsale, and also 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.
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. 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. He voiced a cruise-ship director in The Simpsons episode "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again".
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.
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 The Revengers' Comedies, and Octavius in Night at the Museum (a role he reprised in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb). He has also played himself four 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. His fourth time playing himself on screen was in the 2014 film The Trip to Italy, a film about him and Rob Brydon taking a food-tasting trip through Italy.
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 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.
Stand-up comedy comeback tour
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. Reviews of the tour were mixed. 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 described it as "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".
As the tour progressed and the problems were ironed out, reviews were very positive. Dominic Maxwell of the Times described the show as "twice as entertaining as most other comedy shows this year." Brian Logan of the Guardian awarded it four stars and described it as "shamelessly funny." Reviews such as the one from Nottingham Arena exemplified how much the show had improved after dealing with the glitches on its first few dates; "When Steve Coogan first brought this show to Nottingham last month, the reviews were poor... the intervening weeks have made a big difference, and last night's audience at the Trent FM Arena went home happy. More please, and soon."
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.
In the media
Coogan said he "liked to keep himself private", adding; "I have never wanted to be famous, as such – fame is a by-product". 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, also targeting his family and friends in attempts to extract stories from them.
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. 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." However, Coogan later gave credit to the same newspaper for its investigation of the phone hacking scandal. 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".
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. 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. 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"
Coogan provided an 8-page witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry and appeared at the inquiry on 22 November 2011 to discuss the evidence. 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.
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 Roman Catholic High School in Middleton, Greater Manchester. Although brought up Catholic, Coogan now describes himself as an atheist. Coogan married Caroline Hickman in 2002, and divorced in 2005. Coogan entered rehab for personal issues. He dated model China Chow for three years. In March 2011 Coogan was guest editor for lads mag Loaded, where he met and began dating glamour model Elle Basey. As of 2013, the couple are still together. He has a daughter, Clare, from a previous relationship with solicitor Anna Cole.
Coogan supports the Labour Party. He believes that Conservatives think "people are plebs" and that "they like to pat people on the head". 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.
|1987–1990||Spitting Image||Various characters||Voice only|
|1992||The Dead Good Show||Various characters|
|1993||The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer||Lead singer of Go West||1 episode|
|Saturday Zoo||Paul Calf/Pauline Calf|
|1994||The Day Today||Various characters||Writer
|1994–1995||Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge||Alan Partridge||Writer
|1996||Tales from the Crypt||Danny Skeggs||1 episode|
|1997||The Friday Night Armistice||Alan Partridge|
|The Fix||Mike Gabbett|
|The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon||Tony Ferrino|
|1997–2002||I'm Alan Partridge||Alan Partridge||Writer
|1998||Bob and Margaret||Various characters||1 episode|
|Alice Through the Looking Glass||Gnat|
|1999||Hooves of Fire||Blitzen||Voice only|
|Mrs Merton and Malcolm||Various characters||6 episodes (5 as voice only)|
|2001||Combat Sheep||Commander Harris||Executive producer
|A Small Summer Party||Geoff||Executive producer|
|Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible||Various characters||Writer and executive producer
|2002||Cruise of the Gods||Nick Lee||Executive producer|
|Legend of the Lost Tribe||Blitzen||Voice only|
|2002, 2004, 2006||Top Gear||Himself||Series 1, Episode 4, Series 5 Episode 4, Series 8 Episode 7|
|2003||The Private Life of Samuel Pepys||Samuel Pepys|
|Anglian Lives: Alan Partridge||Alan Partridge||Writer|
|2004||I Am Not An Animal||Various characters||Voice only
|2005||Monkey Trousers||Executive producer
|2006||Little Britain||Pilot||1 episode|
|2006–2007||Saxondale||Tommy Saxondale||Writer and executive producer
|2007||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Dr. Bright||1 episode|
|2008||Sunshine||Bing Crosby||3 episodes|
|2010||Neighbors from Hell||Satan||6 episodes|
|2010–2011||Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge||Alan Partridge||Writer
|2010||The Trip||Steve Coogan||6 episodes|
|2012||The Simpsons||Rowan Priddis||Voice only
Episode: "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again"
|Moone Boy||Francie "Touchie" Feeley||1 episode|
|2014||The Trip to Italy||Steve Coogan||6 episodes|
|2014||The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries||Steve Coogan||1 episode|
|2015||Happyish||Thom Payne||10 episodes|
Awards and nominations
|1992||In Character with John Thomson||Perrier Comedy Award||Best Comedy Show||Won|
|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|
|Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge||Best Light Entertainment Performance||Nominated|
|1998||I'm Alan Partridge||British Comedy Awards||Best TV Comedy Actor||Won|
|BAFTAs||Best Comedy Performance||Won|
|Best Comedy (Programme or Series)||Won|
|2002||The Parole Officer||BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer||Nominated|
|2003||Cruise of the Gods||British Comedy Awards||Best TV Comedy Actor||Won|
|I'm Alan Partridge||BAFTAs||Best Comedy Performance||Nominated|
|Royal Television Society||Nominated|
|24 Hour Party People||Empire Awards||Best British Actor||Nominated|
|Online Film Critics Society||Best Breakthrough Performance||Nominated|
|2005||Happy Endings||Satellite Award||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|2011||The Trip||BAFTAs||Best Male Comedy Performance||Won|
|2013||Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places of My Life||BAFTAs||Best Male Comedy Performance||Won|
|2014||Philomena||Academy Awards||Best Picture||Nominated|
|Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay||Nominated|
|BAFTAs||Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay||Won|
|Best British Film||Nominated|
|1994||Live 'N' Lewd|
|1998||Live – The Man Who Thinks He's It|
|2009||As Alan Partridge And Other Less Successful Characters – Live|
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Coogan, 45, guest edited the mag in character as Norwich radio DJ Alan Partridge for the March 2011 issue, and posed with 21-year-old lingerie and glamour model Elle Basey for the issue.
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Coogan has repeatedly complained that articles recycle the same old tabloid half-truths about his supposed affairs ... His current relationship with 23-year-old lingerie model Elle Basey, whom he met while guest-editing Loaded magazine, can't have helped.
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