Somebody spelling “you’re” wrong in a text or tweet. I’m a stickler for correct spelling and punctuation and I hate text speak. It’s lazy.
Which TV show has recently brought a tear to your eye?
Deadliest Catch on Discovery. I was really hung over in a hotel and it was the only thing on that was English-speaking. I must have watched eight hours of it back to back. By the end I was in tears, because a guy died.
What makes you blush?
Doing a sex scene with Lesley Sharp [in the 2000 BBC drama Nature Boy] having only met her that morning. Luckily, I was playing a character who was very nervous. The weirdest thing was doing the post-sync dialogue: redoing all the kissing noises in a studio, with four blokes behind me. I would rather have done the real thing over and over.
What would tempt you to work across the pond?
I’d love to have done something like Lost. I think that would have been a real hoot. People thought it was weird, but I thought that was its beauty – the fact that it didn’t seem to have any rules. I was one of the few that followed it to the end. I cried then. I was in bits.
Who was your first crush?
Kylie, in her pure days. I used to have a scrapbook and I wrote to Jim’ll Fix It asking to meet her. I also wrote to him asking to meet Morph and to go on the Krypton Factor assault course. Jim never wrote back.
Who would be your ideal dinner companion?
Rolf Harris. I really don’t get starstruck at all, but I think I would with him because I idolised him as a kid. I used to want to be an artist.
A giggle. When I got the part, I think my mum was more excited than I was. Of course, I knew who he was and I was nervous in those first scenes, but more because of the accent. We filmed the first two series in Dublin and I was struggling to get a handle on the accent while filming with an Irish crew and a Welsh director.
In the new series what’s in store for your character, Gently’s mouthy sidekick, Detective Sergeant John Bacchus?
It’s 1968 now and Bacchus has grown up a little. We see more of his private life, of his relationship with his daughter and his dad. He’s a bit more human, I think – still angry, but more settled.
Is it true you’ve “accidentally” taken some of Bacchus’s clothes home?
Not by accident. I’ve said, “Can I have this?” and the costume department are like [bemused voice], “Yeah, if you really want it…” So I’ve got a Harrington jacket and a suit that I love. I was born in the wrong era; I should have been a child of the 60s or 70s, not the 80s.
So what would you bring back from the days of your youth?
The Adventure Game. It was a bit like The Crystal Maze, but set in space. And Pacers, the sweets – they were well good.
1. EastEnders or Corrie? Neither.
2. Strictly or The X Factor? The X Factor.
3. Downton Abbey or Homeland? Homeland.
4. Celebrity MasterChef or The Great British Bake Off? Celebrity MasterChef. I’m a very keen cook; I’m not very good, but I’m keen!