The star of The Hour, currently appearing in John Carter, tells us what (and who) he’s watching…
Who controls the remote control in your house?
My kids. When I’m at home they completely monopolise the television and by the time I get my hands on the remote I’m normally pretty drunk. I tend to watch more TV in obscure locations in the States than in my own living room.
What would you delete from your kids’ watchlist?
Peppa Pig has the most annoying theme tune, which they just play again and again, and it drives me mad. If I never had to hear it again my life would be vastly improved.
What is your guilty pleasure?
My favourite programme out there is Extreme Makeover, where women who think they are ugly are taken away from their friends and families and given chemical peels and facelifts. They return looking like monsters and their kids run out screaming in horror but the stylists are standing there crying, saying, “Oh my God, you look so beautiful!”
Is there a TV programme that you never miss?
I didn’t miss an episode of The Hour. The first time I sat down to watch it with my family but they quickly lost interest. I don’t particularly like watching myself on the TV but I do like to check that none of my lines have been cut. One or two ended up on the cutting-room floor but that was mostly due to my occasional bad acting – there’s some charming self-effacement for you.
Has anyone left you star-struck?
I was drunk at a party at the British Embassy in Washington and I was heading to the loo, outside which Jessica Alba was waiting. She was so amazingly beautiful I nearly collapsed on her, though I have to admit I wasn’t struck by her talent or fame. I did meet Mark Rylance from the play Jerusalem and was left dumb. He is the best actor in the world.
Who was your first TV crush?
The character Jaime Sommers in The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. I was madly in love with her. I think it was the bionics that did it for me.
Have you got a fixation with any of the specialist channels?
I’d be happy for hours watching documentaries on BBC4. I like ones on music – there was a great one the other day about the blues. I was recently approached to do Maestro – where they train celebrities to conduct an orchestra – and I would have loved to do it but couldn’t. It would make great TV watching an idiot like me trying to conduct professional musicians! I do play guitar, piano and clarinet but I’m not sure that would help me much.
Who do you wake up to?
I listen to the Today programme every morning and I get depressed. I try every other channel but most programmes are presented by extreme narcissists. I have been getting into 6 Music recently but they’ve been having a week dedicated to German pop outfit Kraftwerk, which hasn’t been much fun.
Which would you throw out of the window – the TV, computer or radio?
I would trash the computer to stop my daughter going on Facebook all day, every day, but I know I’d regret it because I can’t do without it.
Have you ever googled yourself?
All the time! I like to have chats about myself with people – mainly putting forward the case for the defence in forums. I use my own name but nobody ever believes it’s me.
My Watchlist appears in Radio Times magazine, published 29 February