‘Fun to get lost in new places’

When all tourist signs are point­ing one way, it’s ex­cit­ing to go the other travel2013

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - TRAVEL 2013 - LAURA HOLT

ENGLISH Ac­tor Len­nie James is a screen­writer and play­wright too. Among his more no­table roles in tele­vi­sion was the mys­te­ri­ous Mr Hawkins in the Amer­i­can se­ries Jeri­cho. He also stars as De­tec­tive Joe Ged­des in the se­ries Low Win­ter Sun. Back in the UK he is the star in the the BBC2 po­lice drama, Line Of Duty. First hol­i­day mem­ory? Trinidad in 1976. I got taken out of school early for a six-week hol­i­day. It was the first time I got to meet my mum’s fam­ily. I re­mem­ber ask­ing her why she’d ever left.

It seemed like par­adise. Ev­ery­thing grew on the trees: co­conut, mango, le­mon and orange. If you were hun­gry, you just picked some­thing. It was also in­cred­i­bly lib­er­at­ing not to be “the other”. Every­body – driv­ing taxis, work­ing in banks, run­ning the coun­try – looked like me. Best hol­i­day? New Zealand. I fly down as of­ten as pos­si­ble. The first time I went was with my el­dest daugh­ter, who’s now 23, just be­fore she went to sec­ondary school. We went mostly to the North Is­land, in and around Auck­land. It was our big ad­ven­ture.

Later, a buddy of mine from drama school also moved there and he took me to a place called Piha, which is an old surf­ing beach, with black sand and a huge rock called “lion rock”, that’s shaped like a lion in re­pose. It’s so beau­ti­ful. If I ever go miss­ing, that’s where I’ll be.

What have you learnt from your trav­els?

It’s fun to get lost in new places. I like ar­riv­ing some­where and tak­ing a left when some­one tells you to go right. When all the tourist signs are point­ing one way, it’s ex­cit­ing to go the other. Ideal trav­el­ling com­pan­ion? My wife, be­cause she’s in­quis­i­tive and wants to know ev­ery­thing about where we are. I just wan­der around in blind ig­no­rance, but she likes find­ing out what the his­tory is and read­ing all the plac­ards.

For straight up get­ting into trou­ble and hav­ing fun, my daugh­ters are also great. I have three of them and one is al­ways up for some mis­chief.

Beach bum, cul­ture vul­ture or adrenalin junkie?

I like laz­ing around. My wife’s fam­ily is French so ev­ery sum­mer, when we lived in Eng­land (James now lives in the US), we would gather in France with the whole fam­ily: brothers and sis­ters, un­cles and aunts, French and English cousins. We would stay in a lovely house, with a pool and we would just cook, play games and chat. That’s my idea of a proper hol­i­day. Hol­i­day read­ing? I en­joy the crime writer, Wal­ter El­lis Mosley. He does a se­ries of Chan­dler-es­que de­tec­tive sto­ries. His most fa­mous char­ac­ter is Easy Rawl­ins, who was de­picted in the film, Devil in a Blue Dress, fea­tur­ing Den­zel Wash­ing­ton. Mosley makes de­tec­tive writ­ing a real art. It’s not just pulp fic­tion, it’s re­ally classy. Where has se­duced you? I did a film once in the Sa­hara. It was pretty awe-in­spir­ing. I re­mem­ber sit­ting up on the roof of our ho­tel, watch­ing the sun go down and all around me, for 360 de­grees, was noth­ing but sand. It took your breath away, but also made you feel tiny. Favourite drive? Do­minica. It is the most beau­ti­ful, un­spoilt Caribbean is­land. The drive from Roseau, the main city, up to the top, where there’s a Carib- In­dian reser­va­tion, is beau­ti­ful. Best meal abroad? When I first came to Los An­ge­les to film the pi­lot for Jeri­cho, my wife and I drove to Palm Springs af­ter­wards. We stayed in a lit­tle bed and break­fast, built out of Wil­liam Holden’s old house. We asked the own­ers, where was good to eat and they pointed to Copley’s, a non­de­script, hut-like place. We sat down, or­dered and ev­ery thing was bril­liant. Favourite city? Venice. It’s a fan­tas­tic place to get lost and turn the cor­ner and be in awe. We stayed at the Ho­tel Ex­cel­sior on the Lido, which was stupidly ro­man­tic and lux­u­ri­ous.

Also, Prague, be­cause I had no ex­pec­ta­tion that it was go­ing to be that beau­ti­ful. Where next? I’d re­ally like to go Syd­ney. I’ve been to Aus­tralia a few times, but I have never been there. – The In­de­pen­dent

FAM­ILY MAN: Len­nie James turns to his chil­dren when he is in the mood for a lit­tle mis­chief and ad­ven­ture.

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