Best known to Brits as Alan Partridge, comedian Steve Coogan has had a career in film spanning almost 40 years. However, his frock flicks roles didn’t pick up until the early 2000s, and he’s been going strong in historical films and TV shows since then, in a broad range of genres from the dramatic to the irreverent, but always extremely enjoyable to watch.
A Word in Your Era: Casanova (1992)
A British TV series that mixes history, humor, and modern commentary. Steve Coogan plays Casanova in one episode.
The Wind in the Willows (1996)
A live-action adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s novel of the same name (though released for the US market as the cringingly titled “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”, because Americans can’t be arsed to read a book, I guess). Fun fact: Kentwell Hall stands in for Toad Hall. Steve Coogan plays the protagonist Mole.
Alice Through the Looking Glass (1998)
A fittingly trippy and surprisingly faithful adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s novel “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, starring Kate Beckinsale as an adult-child Alice. Steve Coogan plays the role of Gnat.
Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible (2001)
Steve Coogan plays multiple roles in this TV series that parodies the campy “horror” flicks of the 1970s.
24-Hour Party People (2002)
This film takes place in the “Madchester” music scene that gave birth to many iconic bands of the 1980s and 1990s, so it is outside of our 1969 cut-off for reviews, but I’m going to include it anyway because it is a fantastic film. Steve Coogan plays Tony Wilson, co-founder of Factory Records.
The Private Life of Samuel Pepys (2003)
The Daily Mail deemed Pepys “society’s first sex offender” in part due to this film. As much as it pains me to agree with the Daily Mail, I gotta admit they’re not wrong.
Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
Steve Coogan stars opposite Jackie Chan as Phileas Fogg, based on the novel by Jules Verne. It was panned for diverging too much from Verne’s novel.
Steve Coogan plays Steve, an arrogant actor who is cast in the film Tristram Shandy. Told as a film-within-a-film about making a historical film.
Steve Coogan plays the Comte de Mercy, the Austrian ambassador who was instrumental in securing the marriage of the French Dauphin to the Archduchess Marie Antoinette.
The Look of Love (2013)
A biopic about the life of Paul Raymond, the “King of Soho”, who owned strip clubs, published pornography, and became an obscenely wealthy real estate developer in London during the 1960s and 1970s. Steve Coogan plays Raymond.
Northern Soul (2014)
Technically outside of our 1969 cut-off, as it takes place in the 1970s, but I love Steve Coogan, so here he is rocking a short fat tie and terrible side swept page boy haircut.
Rules Don’t Apply (2016)
I had to actually watch this movie to find a shot of Steve Coogan in it to include in this post. Now I have to actually recap the film in a future post … You’re welcome.
I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with this show, but it’s vaguely historical, so I’m including it!
Stan & Ollie (2018)
Steve Coogan plays Stan Laurel, in this biopic about the legendary comedy duo Laurel and Hardy.
Holmes & Watson (2018)
Steve Coogan has gone on the record multiple times about how “rubbish” and “shit” this film is, which kind of makes me want to watch it more. Filing this one away for Snark Week!
The Professor and the Madman (2019)
Steve Coogan plays Frederick James Furnivall, the co-creator of the New English Dictionary, in this gripping biopic about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Ok, so Steve Coogan doesn’t appear in a historical role in this film, which mixes the 15th century with the 21st century. He plays the husband of Sally Hawkins’ character, Philippa, both of them based on real people.
“Stan and Ollie” is one of the few biopics I can recall that captures the subjects and their time with grace and some degree of accuracy, and Coogan and Reilly are both wonderful in it. If nothing else, watch their final dance on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upfEu4aHyWQ
He was brilliant in Stan and Ollie, now I need to see more of Steve’s performances. Thanks for the lineup!
Technically, my favorite Steve Coogan is his role as Octavius in Night at the Museum, which, while not a Frock Flick, is a Frock Role, with tiny him running around in his lil centurion armor being gay with tiny Owen Wilson.
“…released for the US market as the cringingly titled “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”, because Americans can’t be arsed to read a book, I guess…”
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS (1996) was at least the sixth project since 1983 adapting the source material under that title– some of which had recently run in the U.S. on Disney and other cable sources.
And it was briefly put into limited U.S. distribution by Sony Pictures under that original tille, but was quickly withdrawn (it had just bombed badly in the U.K.) Disney subsequently released it on home media under the MR. TOAD’S WILD RIDE title.
This was for two reasons: to avoid confusion with the other versions of the frequently-adapted WIND IN THE WILLOWS already out on home media, as well as to tie into the Disneyland ride of the same name. Disney had previously adapted Kenneth Grahame’s novel back in 1949 as THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD, where it shared screen time with Washington Irving’s THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW.
He has grown on me. His travel pieces w/ whosit are great fun. And I agree he and John C Reilly were brilliant in Stan and Ollie. The film is extremely well made. You can also see the original song and dance online. Excited about The Lost King. I am a Ricardian, after many “encounters” with him over many years via the plays, Daughter of Time, a visit to Bosworth Field while I lived in Leicester, and by happy coincidence, happened to be at the ancient market downtown when “he” and his soldiers rode out of there in a recreation 500 years later on that very day. The discovery of his bones was thrilling. I hope the film does this fascination story justice.
He is so talented. I’m due for a re-watch of several of these. Good MCM choice.
honestly, in Zapped…. I thought that was Vincent Price.
There are worse comparisons, I’m sure.
“Stan and Ollie” was absolutely lovely.
Coogan does vainglorious so very well. I’d love to see his take on one of the overdone monarchs, like Henry the VIII, or Louis the 14th.
Egad! re: Pepys. I’ve been reading a shortened version of his diary, and recommending it right and left because he was so funny–the editors had cut out all the unflattering bits. I had no idea he was more Harvey Weinstien than Harvey Fierstein. Thank you for pointing it out.