Your new drama Lightfields deals with the supernatural. Have you ever had any ghostly encounters?
When I was 16, I was camping with a mate in my mum’s back garden, which backed onto a remote field. In the early hours we saw this shadow pass across the bottom of the garden. We called out but there was no reply. And then this silent apparition walked back again, which really freaked us out. So my mate reached for his airgun and shot it. Again, nothing happened. I still can’t explain it.
What on TV do you never miss?
Cutting Edge. I’m a sucker for documentaries and Channel 4’s are brilliant.
And what would you banish?
Reality shows. I know they’re cheap to make and hugely popular with viewers sat on their sofas eating takeaways, but surely as a genre they’re oversubscribed now. What next – Celebrity Eye Surgery?
That said, what’s your price for doing I’m a Celebrity..?
A million pounds and I’d think about it. But I’ve already done the jungle bit when I spent four months in the Congo filming [2011 US film] Oka! Amerikee. I went properly native for the full four months, eating witchetty grubs and the like. Utterly foul!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
If there’s bowls on TV, I’m there. I spent most of January glued to the Potters Leisure Resort World Indoor Bowls Championship. I can’t get enough of it. It’s so skilful, but also very soothing. I can easily while away a whole night watching bowls with a gin sling in my hand. Bliss.
Which programme would you resurrect?
It’s a Knockout. If we’re living in a world of reality TV, let’s bring that back. Rather than watch people sitting around in the Big Brother house talking about themselves, we’d have people dressing up and going to fight the Belgians. I’d watch a celebrity version of that!
Who or what makes you instantly change channels?
I can’t stand Jeremy Kyle. The whole set-up is an utter disgrace. It’s playing-by-numbers TV for the underclass and I can’t abide it.
Ever walked out of a cinema film?
Yes. Traffic was critically acclaimed, but I couldn’t get on with it. It was a combination of the pacing and Catherine Zeta-Jones’s odd Welsh/American accent. So I left and went down the pub.
Has watching your beloved Aston Villa on TV been equally uncomfortable recently?
It was pretty distressing seeing us get knocked out of the FA Cup by Millwall. I remember watching us 2–0 up against Man United with an air of resignation, knowing full well we’d lose. And in the last minute we duly lost 3–2. Supporting Villa is good training for being an actor. You mustn’t allow your hopes to rise, and you quietly resign yourself to disappointment when it all goes wrong and you get rejected.
What was the last programme or film that made you cry?
I always cry when I watch Terms of Endearment. I’ve seen it loads of times and it never fails to tear me up. I watched it again over Christmas in tears.
When you did those BT ads, did they give you free broadband?
No, I was supposed to get complimentary broadband, but it never happened. It was all, “Oh yes, don’t worry, that’ll all be taken care of ” and then suddenly I got a big bill. I didn’t want to be seen as churlish so I just paid it. Although I did actually get fined by them for not paying my phone bill. It’s OK though. I’m with Sky now.
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