Sir Ian McKellen: “I think about death every day of my of life.”

Ian McKellen gave his first performance as Hamlet on Christmas Day, 1948. He was nine years old – so still some way off becoming a knight of the realm and a national treasure – and the venue was a toy Victorian theatre he’d received that morning. “You cut out all the parts and glued themContinue reading “Sir Ian McKellen: “I think about death every day of my of life.””

Jarvis Cocker: ‘It’s dangerous to believe fame is an improvement on reality’

In 1981, a teenage Jarvis Cocker was pictured in the Sheffield Star holding a plastic tortoise. The photoshoot, in Jarvis’s mum’s living room, was to celebrate his band Pulp being invited down to London to record a session for John Peel’s legendary Radio One show. But it was only when he came across the photograph again fourContinue reading “Jarvis Cocker: ‘It’s dangerous to believe fame is an improvement on reality’”

Sally Wainwright: “Being thought of as formidable worries me a bit.”

Growing up in West Yorkshire, all Sally Wainwright wanted to do was leave. “I couldn’t wait to get away,” admits the award-winning screenwriter of a county that, today, is as central to her work as Wessex was to Hardy, or Middle Earth to Tolkien. “I wanted to go and live in London, because I thoughtContinue reading “Sally Wainwright: “Being thought of as formidable worries me a bit.””

How I accidentally turned my wife’s granddad’s trouser fly buttons into an internet sensation.

READER, I’ve gone viral. Big deal, you might think – who hasn’t these days? But I’m not talking about that virus. I’m talking about the other sort. I’m talking about the day I BROKE THE INTERNET. Or dented it, at least. Actually, it was more of a surface scratch, really. But you get the idea.Continue reading “How I accidentally turned my wife’s granddad’s trouser fly buttons into an internet sensation.”

Johnny Marr: “I’m from a generation of musicians who don’t all want to be Gary Barlow…”

When Johnny Marr decided to call his next album Fever Dreams, he had no idea how prophetic it would prove to be. “I had the title before lockdown, before Covid,” he tells Weekend. “Then, as I was writing it during the pandemic, it all just made total sense. It’s not just that my sleep patterns became erratic,Continue reading “Johnny Marr: “I’m from a generation of musicians who don’t all want to be Gary Barlow…””

Steven Knight: ‘With Peaky Blinders, I wanted to do to my own history what the Americans did to theirs.’

Bogotá is an awfully long way from Birmingham, so it spoke volumes about Peaky Blinders’ extraordinary cultural reach when Cillian Murphy’s Midlands mobster, Tommy Shelby, appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone’s Colombian edition recently (knocking Billie Eilish down to second billing). “It’s been astonishing,” says showrunner Steven Knight of watching his creation become a global TVContinue reading “Steven Knight: ‘With Peaky Blinders, I wanted to do to my own history what the Americans did to theirs.’”

Help – I think I’m suffering from smugpression

So, in the least surprising plot twist since Sleeping Beauty said “I’m just going for a lie down”, it turns out that Boris Johnson is a liar. (And before anyone writes in, I don’t think we need to wait for a report by Sue Gray, Sue Ellen, Sue Barker, Runaround Sue, A Boy Named SueContinue reading “Help – I think I’m suffering from smugpression”

Kenneth Branagh: “In 20 seconds, my life was turned upside down.”

Kenneth Branagh can pinpoint the end of his childhood innocence to a single moment in time. “I was heading back in for my tea, having been called by the bush telegraph of my mum yelling on the front step, and that cry being carried, relay-style, by half a dozen other mums until I got theContinue reading “Kenneth Branagh: “In 20 seconds, my life was turned upside down.””

Elvis Costello: “My dad went into Buckingham Palace through the tradesmen’s entrance. Well you know what? I went in the front.”

In February 2020, Elvis Costello kicked off his latest UK tour at the Liverpool Olympia in front of a sold-out crowd that included his 93-year-old mother, Lillian. “It was in the same dance hall she used to go to as a young woman, when it was known as the Locarno Ballroom,” the singer, songwriter andContinue reading “Elvis Costello: “My dad went into Buckingham Palace through the tradesmen’s entrance. Well you know what? I went in the front.””

Brian Cox: “Succession feels like a reward for the years of hard work.”

For a man who’s played monsters as memorable as Hannibal Lecter and Hermann Göring – to say nothing, of course, of Succession’s tyrannical media tycoon Logan Roy – Brian Cox is a reassuringly genial presence in the flesh. (Yes, I know he’s an actor, and it’s all pretend. But a part of me was still slightly worriedContinue reading “Brian Cox: “Succession feels like a reward for the years of hard work.””