“It’s not like doing Kafka’s
Sometimes, I speak to my missus and say: ‘Yeah, my childhood does sound very Dickensian.’ But we were very loved. My parents were civil with each other and those things are the most important.”
Like so many successful actors, Freeman credits his career to one important mentor. A drama teacher named Eric Yardley lured him towards a youth theatre in Teddington and taught him all the rudiments of acting.
“He died recently and I am always happy to give him credit when I can,” Freeman remarks.
Though he didn’t achieve any class of fame until the new century, Martin was never out of work for long. Following training at Central College of Speech and Drama, he was rapidly propelled into the National Theatre and has ploughed away ever since. He claims – somewhat apologetically – that he has only ever been out of work through his own choice.
The Office was a strange beast. Whatever else you might say about it, you couldn’t reasonably claim it was a creation of the hype machine. Launched with no fanfare on BBC2 in 2001, the slippery comedy slowly evolved into a word-of-mouth phenomenon. One wonders if the cast and crew knew they had something special.
“You can’t guess those things,” he says. “As