Andrew Buchan on crushes and Garrow’s Law

The star of the 18th-century legal drama tells Radio Times he wants a 21st-century date with Cheryl Cole

Strictly or X Factor?
It might be uncool to say it, but it’s The X Factor every time. For me, it’s all about the excitement of someone wandering on stage and being absolutely brilliant. I was watching the American version recently and a kid who worked in a burrito bar shuffled on and then blew everyone away with his voice. That was a real “wow” moment that gave me goose bumps.

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What’s your guilty pleasure?
I have to confess I’m addicted to Sky Sports News. Just the music can pull me in. And then whether it’s badminton in the Czech Republic, snail pushing or mole hopping, I’m hooked. But you know when you’ve overdone it because it goes on a loop after about 40 minutes and you’re still there watching the same stories. I end up watching three loops, thinking, “I’m still here. I really should get on with my life. Oh go on then, just another 15 minutes.”

Who’d be your ideal dinner guest?
The three people I’ve always wanted to meet are Stephen Fry, Billy Connolly and Steven Gerrard. I love Fry’s wordplay. Connolly was always huge in our house because my dad’s Scottish. And I’m a big Liverpool fan so I’ve always admired Gerrard’s professionalism on the pitch. Come rain or shine, he’s always a leader, seeing his team through. As an actor, when I have to audition on a cold, rainy day I always think if Gerrard can get himself up for it every time he plays, even in atrocious conditions, surely I can approach this in the same way. So Stevie always gets me fired up ready to just charge in.

Who or what did you last switch channels to avoid?
The reality show Made in Chelsea. Some people just shouldn’t have a camera pointed at them. And most of them are in this show. Just shush, all of you.

Who was your first crush?
When I was a kid I always had a big thing for Dannii Minogue. Initially I liked Kylie but I quickly moved on to Dannii. There was always something more alluring about her. I think I actually wrote to her asking if we could meet.

Who do you listen to on the radio?
Fearne Cotton has a nice easy way about her. But my favourite radio show is I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. Barry Cryer and Jack Dee stand out but the whole team are sensationally funny. They tore Paul Daniels apart recently. It was so cruel but I’ve never laughed so much.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
It would have to be someone people have said I remind them of. I usually get Hugh Laurie or Russell Crowe if my hair’s short or Hugh Grant if it’s a tad floppy. When I laugh, I’ve been told I remind people of a white Ainsley Harriott! And when I had my shades on, a Ugandan taxi driver said I looked like Jeremy Clarkson. So one of those five should be able to carry it off.

You played Joseph last Christmas in The Nativity. Were you ever in a Nativity at school?
Yes, I was Joseph at school so it’s gone full circle. I was nine or ten and Mary was played by a very tall girl so that was a bit awkward. That was one of my first roles so I’ve got the drama teacher, Miss Taylor, to thank for getting me into this.

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Who would you like to spend an evening down the pub with?
It would be good to take Cheryl Cole down the pub to see how she’s getting on. I’ve no ulterior motive, it’s purely a matey, “How you doin’, Coley? You’ve had a terrible year, you got malaria, nearly died and then got axed from The X Factor in the US. Are you all right? Come on, let’s go down to Wetherspoon’s. I’m buying.”