Best known for his seminal comedy creation, Alan Partridge, Steve Coogan’s dramatic work sometimes slips under the radar.But with Philomena, the British actor’s emotional attachment, combined with the technique and skill from both he and Judi Dench, his new film is a touchingly funny drama.

Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark and Dame Judy DenchSteve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark and Dame Judy Dench at the premiere for Philomena

“I was very emotionally involved in it. I read the article in the newspaper, and I responded to that because it made me angry, and it made me cry. It didn’t make me laugh much, I have to say, but I brought that to it a bit later on,” said Coogan of the project.

“You need to feel passionate about something; you need to have an opinion about it, but you also need to rein that in sometimes, he added. The story sees Dench play mother trying to reunite with her son 50 years. Nuns put up the baby for adoption, rather immorally."

Coogan plays the journalist who goes the extra mile to help her.

"I didn't just want the film to be an angry attack on the church," he explained. “It’s of limited value. I don’t want to make a film that just preaches to the converted. It doesn’t really achieve a great deal.”

Of course, it wasn’t long before Digital Spy’s interview with Coogan moved onto more Partridge-based questioning. And the Manchester-born actor hinted that another incarnation of Norwich’s primary radio celebrity could happen a couple of years down the line.

He’s "kept in cold storage - we drag him out, attach the electrodes and reanimate him,” joked Coogan.

Steve Coogan and Judi Dench
Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in Philomena