Favourite TV role?
I played Captain Ahab in a television adaptation of Moby Dick for Hallmark in America about ten years ago and, although it was the most challenging role I have ever had to play, it was also the most fun. It is the closest I have come to a high seas adventure. I spent most of the time underwater lashed to the side of a fake whale. It was terrifying as it was on rails like a rollercoaster because it had to look like it was diving in and out water but I enjoyed it immensely though!
Worst moment on stage?
I hate fight scenes – they frighten me more than anything. I have been unlucky enough to work with one or two crazy actors in my time and I have often been hurt when they lose control. I would be happy never to do another stage fight again in my life. On TV and film everything feels very safe and properly done whereas on stage you find yourself alone on stage with a battleaxe wielding actor when the red mist descends over his eyes and there is nothing you can do.
TV role you covet?
I would love a part in Broadwalk Empire – the chance to act alongside Steve Buscemi would be fantastic.
Role you covet on stage?
There are several – some classics I haven’t yet played, but I suppose nobody is going to ask me to play Romeo or Hamlet now are they? That dream is over and I regret it immensely. The sad thing is that I feel in every way ready to play them now, at 71.
What are the challenges of going from TV to the stage?
On a very simplistic level the difference is that stage acting is about action and screen acting is about thinking.
Three-time Olivier Award winner Patrick Stewart is playing William Shakespeare in Bingo at the Young Vic until 31 March.
See pictures and interviews with Britain’s leading actors – including Joseph Mawle, Russell Tovey, Eve Myles, Celia Imrie, Mackenzie Crook, Anne-Marie Duff, Jessica Raine, Kara Tointon, Tom Chambers, Ben Miller and many more – in Radio Times magazine’s fantastic Olivier Awards special! Also in the new issue: Paul Weller, Jools Holland, Pamela Stephenson, Mary Beard, Clare Balding, Two Greedy Italians and Dara O Briain. In shops now.