Bouncing back: Coogan returns to the BBC

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The Independent Online

The comedian and actor Steve Coogan has endured a difficult year in which his marriage fell apart amid tabloid revelations of lap dancers and cocaine but, just like his excruciating creation Alan Partridge, he plans on Bouncing Back.

The comedian and actor Steve Coogan has endured a difficult year in which his marriage fell apart amid tabloid revelations of lap dancers and cocaine but, just like his excruciating creation Alan Partridge, he plans on Bouncing Back.

After 12 months establishing himself as a minor Hollywood star, Coogan is back in Britain creating new characters to be unveiled in a BBC series this year.

It will be the first time Coogan has embarked on such a project for nearly a decade, since the 1995 series Coogan's Run, which had the low-life brother and sister, Paul and Pauline Calf, and the yuppy salesman, Gareth Cheeseman. In an interview with The Independent's Media Weekly, Coogan said his time in America had reinvigorated his interest in developing new comic characters.

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder," he said. "I'm glad that I have not done something in a while but when you have an appetite for comedy and you want to make people laugh [you want to do more]. Right now I've got an appetite."

Coogan, who has four new characters he is happy with, is considering reviving "old favourites". He said he was anxious to develop a new stable of comic roles "under the auspices of Baby Cow", the television production company he set up with writing partner Henry Normal five years ago, now turning over £10m a year. Coogan added: "Writing is very pressured but when you are in a group it's a real pleasure. When you are in a room and you know you are doing good stuff, really being creative, it's a pure pleasure because you are creating something for nothing."

The project comes after a period of Coogan's career that has been devoted largely to feature films. After his lead roles in The Parole Officer (2001) and 24 Hour Party People (2002), Coogan's movie career has taken off. Last year he was in Around The World in 80 Days and Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes. He has four more films in the offing. In his Alan Partridge series, the character wrote a book about his comeback called Bouncing Back.

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