Maestro of Mortification

Steve Coogan discusses his alter ego, one of TV's most excruciating comic creations

Coogan as talk show host Alan Partridge (before the cataclysmic downfall)
photo: BBC America
Coogan as talk show host Alan Partridge (before the cataclysmic downfall)


The Alan Partridge Experience
Saturdays at 11 on BBC America

Maybe that's why he's so attached to his creation. Coogan has had plenty of post-Partridge success in movies (he's currently filming a supporting role in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette biopic) and started his own production company, through which he's had a hand in many of Britain's edgiest new comedy hits, like Nighty Night. Yet he keeps circling back to Partridge. Coogan says he petitioned the BBC to finally have the series broadcast in the U.S., and he's fantasizing about a Partridge movie. He's also working on a totally new TV project but complains that "when you do something completely beloved, you end up competing against yourself." So he's screwed himself over by being so good? "I wouldn't use those words but . . . yes!" he crows, sounding for just a millisecond exactly like his character. "I feel like calling my new series It's Not as Good as Alan Partridge."

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