Monday, 30 November -0001


…is an award-winning English actor who shot to fame as Sebastian Flyte in ITV’s 1981 adaptation of Brideshead Revisited. He has had roles including Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady the The Scarlet Pimpernel.He lives in London and Wiltshire with h

What are you working on at the moment?
I am filming The Syndicate in Yorkshire. It is a six-part series for BBC One, written and directed by Kay Mellor, whose reputation goes before her. It is the third series of a show about winners of the lottery, each with a new story and a different cast, but always focusing on a syndicate [a number of lottery-ticket players].

When were you at your happiest?
When I first met my wife, Georgina Simpson, the person who has guided me through the last 43 years, given me an incredible family and become their guide, too.

What is your greatest fear?
Becoming incapacitated, but not having Stephen Hawking’s strength of purpose.

What is your earliest memory?
I can remember my father coming home with a toy drum for me, shortly before he died. I think I was four-and-ahalf years old.

What do you most dislike about yourself?
A lack of self-motivation.

Who has been your greatest influence?
As well as my mother, who brought up five children alone without finance or help, professionally I have three great mentors: the actors Sir John Mills, Jack Lemmon and Sir John Gielgud. They all became my friends, too.

What is your most treasured possession?
My mother’s ring. It is an old, worn-thin signet ring. It was her father’s ring and once bore his initials, but when they disappeared she scratched her own on the top with a pin!

What trait do you most deplore in others?

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I am not fond of wrinkles!

What is your favourite book?
Goodbye To Berlin by Christopher Isherwood.

What is your favourite film?
This is an impossible question! But if I were forced to answer, I would have to say David O Selznick and Victor Fleming’s Gone With The Wind.


And your favourite piece of music?

Mozart’s Violin Concerto No 3.

What is your favourite meal?
Fish and chips.

Who would you like to come to dinner?
My family.

What is the nastiest thing anyone has ever said to you?

Do you believe in aliens?
Do they believe in us?

What is your secret vice?
Champagne – although many may have rumbled that!

Do you write thank-you notes?
Not nearly enough!

Which phrase do you most overuse?
Most of my overused phrases are aimed at myself – and utterly unprintable!

What would most improve the quality of your life?
Doing it all again!

Tell us one thing people might not know about you.
My wife says that I am shy.

What would you like your epitaph to read?
‘He tried’.

The third series of The Syndicate will be broadcast on BBC One later this year.

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