Friday, 19 February 2016

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Kenneth Cranham a film, television, radio and stage actor. He is best remembered for playing the title role in Shine On Harvey Moon. He lives in London with his family.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m rehearsing for The Father. We’re going to be in the West End and then on a seven-city tour.

When were you at your happiest?
There’s the intense happiness of being at the birth of two daughters and each of them being the creature that you now know. One is in her mid-30s and one’s in her 20s; there they were perfectly formed, and they’re exactly the characters they are now. Nothing makes you happier than that.

What is your greatest fear?
Something happening to either of my daughters.

What is your earliest memory?
I was born in Scotland and when I was young, on a visit to Inverness, I remember going over a footbridge across a sort of tributary that flows into Loch Ness. Some Scottish pipers were on the grassy bank and we went along the path where there was a parade ground and there was the swirl of the pipes and the drum and the band marching at night in the dim light. It was incredible, and it impressed itself on my memory.

What do you most dislike about yourself?
I have the ability to create indoor skips.

Who has been your greatest influence?
I had a clutch of heroes, most of them American. Olivier was the only English one. I loved Marlon Brando, the young Elvis Presley, and Muhammad Ali.

What is your most treasured possession?
I’ve got studio photos of my grandparents. They look so rich and good-looking but they were incredibly poor. They had these fantasy lives in these studio photos. They were a very dashing pair.

What trait do you most deplore in others?
People who are horrible.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Losing the hair from my head and it growing out of my ears.

What is your favourite book?
The Buffalo Bill Wild West Annual.

What is your favourite film?
Henry V.

first-imp-590-2Kenneth has taken a shine to Buffalo Bill, Laurence Olivier in Henry V, the song To Know Him Is To Love Him, and lots of grilled cheese

And your favourite piece of music?

To Know Him Is To Love Him by The Teddy Bears.

What is your favourite meal?
It changes. Eating in London has become a great adventure.

Who would you most like to come to dinner?
Elvis Presley, circa just after leaving the army, Tom Jones (the present model), Rob Brydon, gospel group The Sweet Inspirations, and Jools Holland on piano.

What is the nastiest thing anyone has said to you?
I once played George Carman in Justice In Wonderland. The Times ran an interview with George Carman and asked him what he thought of the portrayal. He said, ‘If I was as dull as that wretched man I would never get another case.’ That’s what you get for reading things.

Do you believe in aliens?
I don’t know. I think many things are possible.

What is your secret vice?
I have an unhealthy obsession with creating grilled cheese on salmon.

Do you write thank-you notes?
I do.

Which phrase do you most overuse?
‘Okay studio we’ll go again’.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
I’d like to have another life running alongside the life I have. I’m 71, if my life was a 90-minute football game, which is a long life, I’m in the 70s in terms of the football game. There are so many things that I’m interested in that I don’t get to pursue.

Tell us something people might not know about you.
I went on two consecutive days to the Elvis Presley show at the o2.

What would you like your epitaph to read?
To know him was to love him (if only it were true).

The Father is at the Duke of York’s Theatre from 24 February to 26 March: 0844-871 7623,

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