Hannibal’s Hugh Dancy on Jaffa cakes, crying at the movies and the darkness in all of us

"I felt ready for a break by the end of Hannibal's second season, but only because it was good, hard work. I don’t feel that my soul is being crippled by it!"

You live in New York with your wife Claire Danes and one-year-old son Cyrus – so what do you miss most about the UK?


I do miss the BBC. Adverts in the US are so long, and they can be so obnoxious. They shout at you to buy a product and then you get the “small print” where they quickly talk through the thousand ways that product can kill you. Foodwise, I find myself searching supermarkets for Jaffa cakes.

How does British TV compare
to American television?

I was at the Bafta TV awards recently and it reminded me how much incredible drama we’re producing. I love that the Americans are getting to see dramas like Broadchurch. Downton is great, but they already know we can do the corset and bow-tie thing.

What is your earliest television memory?

Coming home from school and watching Grange Hill. I remember the theme tune and those great bouncy credits.

Favourite childhood cartoon?

Wacky Races, Looney Tunes, Road Runner, and The Simpsons. I cried at the third Toy
Story film.

Does TV make you cry, too?

Not as much… With a film you’re carried on a wave with a character until it reaches a crescendo, so I’ll bawl my eyes out in the cinema.

What would be your perfect night in?

I’m way behind with Breaking Bad, so I’d have 
to spend a few days bingeing on the last two seasons. I’ve managed to avoid spoilers so I think we should change the subject!

What are your telly turn-offs?

Very little. Once it’s on, it’s on. Sometimes I’ll sit watching a rolling news channel and realise I’ve seen the same report over and over again, and then I get disgusted
 with myself and turn it off.

Which show would you resurrect?

Most of them have already been remade: The Singing Detective was made into a film, and Brideshead seems to have been redone about 17 different times. Sometimes remakes are good and sometimes they’re not. And sometimes you go back to a show that you remember fondly and it doesn’t stand up any more.

How did you get the role of criminal profiler Will Graham in the TV remake of Hannibal?

I was approached by showrunner Bryan Fuller and my first thought was, “Why on earth would they do that again?” But I read the script, and I could see where he was going with it. Will’s such a complicated character that I don’t think you could do justice to his weirdness in a two-hour movie.

Has making Hannibal made you paranoid about the world?

No more than usual! I think we all have a dark side. I felt ready for a break by the end of the second season, but only because it was good, hard work. I don’t feel that my soul is being crippled by it!


Hannibal continues on Tuesday at 10:00pm on Sky Living