You just won the best supporting actor Bafta for playing Moriarty in Sherlock. Did you find the Baftas fun or terrifying?
Terrifying. I’m shy: I remember at my 21st birthday party, I had to make a speech and was so nervous I sounded like I was giving a eulogy at a funeral. So I did genuinely hope I didn’t have to get up. But of course there’s a little part of you that wants to win.
Were you surprised at the colossal success of Sherlock?
I kind of knew – I think we all knew – it was going to be really special. I feel very proud that it’s a Sherlock for our age: I really appreciated being allowed to play Moriarty a little left of centre.
How much freedom did you have?
I experimented daily and they were incredibly supportive of that. That’s what you really want as an actor: someone saying, “Go for it!” not “What are you doing?”
What makes you angry?
Bland television. I don’t like drama that’s just a version of something we’ve already seen. If you’ve been given money and an opportunity to be in front of an audience, why not say something new and original?
Benedict Cumberbatch’s fans call themselves the “cumberbitches”. Do you have your own devotees?
I do, which is both nice and bizarre. They have a number of names. I’ve been sent love letters and art; as befits Moriarty, my guys are dark!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I was once lucky enough to meet Lauren Bacall in New York, who said: “You know in this industry, you never make it.” I thought that was a very revealing comment from a living legend in her 90s.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I was doing a very heavy play last year and so would come home brain-dead and watch Judge Judy. I’m also partial to a bit of Britain’s Got Talent. I don’t watch any of the other talent shows, but I find its eccentricity appealing.
Who was your first crush?
When I was nine, I had three posters: Bros, Kylie and INXS. I never went as far as kissing any of them. Maybe I was a cynical child.
What makes you cry?
Good acting, nature documentaries, most recently the series The Undateables… I’m terrible, an emotional wreck.
This summer you’ll be playing a detective in the BBC1 drama series Blackout. How do you choose your roles?
I like to do almost the opposite of what I’ve just done, to test myself. Also to go between media: so I’ve just done The Great Gatsby for Radio 4 and a 30-minute monologue called Sea Wall, which went out over the internet.
How about a musical?
I’d love to, but I suspect my singing voice isn’t strong enough. My dancing skills are better, but it would take me months longer to rehearse than everybody else.
1. Football or rugby?
2. EastEnders or Coronation Street?
Coronation Street – just like my mum
3. Jamie Oliver or Nigel Slater?
4. Michael McIntyre or Sarah Millican?
Either. they’re both brilliant
5. Box-office blockbuster or art house?