Steve Coogan

He gave us the great Alan Partridge and he looks worryingly attractive in drag. Kiss his face, it's the versatile comic actor Steve Coogan.

Steve Coogan

Steve Coogan was born in Middleton, Manchester in 1965. Coming from a family of six kids, there was always fierce competition for attention at casa Coogan. So when one brother became a TV presenter and another brother became the lead singer in The Mock Turtles, the competition heightened considerably.

Not to be outdone, Steve Coogan did an acting course at Manchester Polytechnic School of Theatre and gave his first stand-up comedy performances during his time there. A chance discovery by a TV talent scout soon secured him slots on shows such as Spitting Image, First Exposure, A Word in Your Era and Paramount City. He then won the coveted Perrier Award in 1992. But the landmark moment in his career came when he created Alan Partridge for the BBC Radio Show On The Hour.

Alan Partridge, the pathetic yet hilarious TV-presenter-turned-graveyard-shift-radio-DJ, is arguably more famous than Coogan himself. But, over the years, Coogan has also been responsible for creating some of the most outrageous humans ever to grace our small screens. There's Tony Ferrino, Portuguese Eurovision-Song-Contest-winner. Paul Calf, the ladies' man extraordinaire, who employs such irresistible lines as: "Look, I want to shag you, you want to shag me... I know I'm at least half right." And then there's Paul's foul-mouthed sister Pauline - the good-time girl Coogan describes as his "strong woman" persona.

After turning out a spectacular performance as Factory Records boss Tony Wilson in 24 Hour Party People, Coogan suddenly became hot property in Hollywood. Steve Coogan as a swoon-worthy leading man? Well, judging from the women he's been playing opposite these last few years, it's not that inconceivable. His recent movie work includes A Cock and Bull Story with ex-X Filer Gillian Anderson, Happy Endings, with Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary), Lisa Kudrow (Friends) and Laura Dern (Jurassic Park) and Marie Antoinette with Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) in the director's chair and Kirsten Dunst (Wimbledon, Spiderman) in the title role. After living the Hollywood high-life as Mr Coogan, it seems that Steve no longer needs to turn to his alter-egos to command attention. Just don't mention what happened with Courtney Love at that hotel, alright?

Not just a leading Hollywood actor, Steve has written his own stuff as well, co-writing and starring in The Parole Officer, he even used quotes from his other characters, Alan Partridge and Paul Calf on the poster. He's also tried his hand at voice acting, voicing Satan in Neighbours from Hell and Phillip Masterson-Bowie and Mark Andrews in animated-series I Am Not an Animal.

He's still a lover of the BBC at heart though, staying away from Hollywood long enough to star as Tommy in the amazing series Saxondale and The Trip alongside long term pal and Cock and Bull Story co-star Rob Brydon. The pair toured Northern restaurants in a partially scripted situation comedy and the show bagged Steve a Bafta for Best Male Performance in a Comedy Role.

If all that wasn't enough, Steve even owns his own production company, Baby Cow Productions, which has overseen quality shows such as Nighty, Night, The Mighty Boosh, Marion and Geoff and Gavin & Stacey. Pretty impressive, by Alan Partridge's standards anyway.

He may have been voted into the top 20 comedians by The Comedian's Comedian but what's all this we hear about Alan Partridge: The Movie? He might not have got another series, but the light entertainment dinosaur seems to have scored his own flick. Jurassic Park! Watch this space...

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