Celeb stories

Comedy legend moves fast to secure his Irish passport

Comedy superstar Steve Coogan is one of many Brits who has decided to apply for an Irish passport following Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The Alan Partridge actor has always been open about his heritage and said he even considered himself to be half-Irish.

The popular star grew up in Manchester, England, but his mother was from Co Mayo and the Irish culture was a big part of his childhood years.

The Brexit drama had dominated the news in Britain, Ireland and beyond for several years before the covid global pandemic became the more pressing issue.

However, Brexit did take place and with Britain no longer part of the European Union, many Brits chose to exercise their rights to an Irish passport through the births of their parents.

Coogan spent many summers as a child visiting his relatives in Mayo, and he has always been happy to acknowledge his roots in his performances.

One famous scene saw his Alan Partridge character try and convince a pair of Irish television executives that he would be the right man to front a new show.

Partridge comically misunderstands the history of Ireland as he dismisses the suffering of the Great Famine by saying: “You will pay the price for being a fussy eater.”

The joke was of course at the character’s expense, and the reactions of the Irish television executives, played by Father Ted writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews, was priceless.

Coogan also wrote and starred in the 2013 movie Philomena opposite Judi Dench, as he played journalist Martin Sixsmith who helped the Philomena character track down the son she was forced to give up at birth.

Coogan has a talent for adding comedy to serious subjects, and both he and Dench received widespread praise for their performances.

He even played an Irish farmer on a daily magazine show spoof hosted by Alan Partridge.

The comical scene sees farmer Brennan repeatedly insult and undermine the presenter, before breaking out into song with a medley of traditional Irish songs including Come Out Ye Black and Tans.

Throughout, the awkward host Partridge attempts to quieten his troublesome guest to no avail.

Coogan laughed about the scene, saying: “There was a joke there: I wonder if we can get an Irish rebel song on prime-time television.”

However, his application for an Irish passport is deadly serious and he told the Irish Times: “My Irish passport will be arriving shortly. That’s not a joke.”

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