Hugh Bon­neville

The Observer Magazine - - THIS WEEK'S ISSUE - In­ter­view SARAH HUGHES Pho­to­graph STU­ART McCLYMONT

but a happy one. I spent most of my time in the I was a soli­tary child dress­ing-up box wear­ing my granny’s old dresses and high heels, and mak­ing my fam­ily watch my epic pro­duc­tions.

I gave my­self three years to make it I would have been a ter­ri­ble bar­ris­ter. in act­ing or else take up law. Thank­fully it never came to that, al­though my fa­ther and I once had this ridicu­lous pipe dream that we would read for the bar to­gether, study­ing in an at­tic like a pair of Dick­en­sian codgers. In­stead he car­ried on be­ing a sur­geon and I stayed do­ing this.

and think­ing, You can waste a lot of time look­ing back over your life what if ? I loved my time at the Royal Shake­speare Com­pany and when my con­tract wasn’t re­newed I thought it was the end of the world. It wasn’t.

To make it as an You have to be prag­matic to suc­ceed in this in­dus­try. ac­tor it’s best to be thick-skinned and ac­cept that not ev­ery­thing will go your way. That said, I used to be re­ally bad at tak­ing crit­i­cism.

Padding­ton ap­peals to peo­ple be­cause we’ve all been that bear. We’ve been to a new school or moved to a new coun­try or been dis­placed in some way. It of­fers us the chance to be the best of Bri­tain and to show that we can pro­tect the vul­ner­a­ble and don’t need to com­pletely de­stroy each other. His cour­tesy is also much needed in these times.

in my own way by buy­ing a I’m rag­ing against the dy­ing of the light con­vert­ible and plant­ing a cop­per beech tree. Why the tree? There was one in the gar­den of the first house I ever lived in and I’ve been think­ing about it for years. Then I re­cently lost two peo­ple close to me and re­alised, what is the point of al­ways think­ing about this tree? Plant it now and en­joy it.

I’ve ever done. It looks loose and laid­back W1A is the most dif­fi­cult show but it’s re­ally pre­cise with such fast di­a­logue. It’s def­i­nitely chal­leng­ing.

It was only long af­ter she re­tired My mother never talked about her job. that I re­alised she’d worked in the old MI6 build­ing. She wasn’t a spy, more of a dili­gent Miss Moneypenny, du­ti­ful and pro­duc­tive.

was on the back of a lorry go­ing from The clos­est I’ve ever come to death Uganda to South Su­dan in 1982. We’d been told that the way to get through the check­points was to have trin­kets for the guards and also a lad who would en­ter­tain them so they’d wave us on. In­stead, one of the sol­diers jabbed the end of his ri­fle into this boy, who be­came ashen and stopped talk­ing. I sat there think­ing, “Christ if he’s scared, what the fuck should I do?” Luck­ily the mo­ment passed and off we went but it was def­i­nitely hairy.

I don’t think I’ve achieved any­thing much. Al­though Apart from my fam­ily I re­cently com­pleted the 100km South Downs walk, which wasn’t bad for a fat man in his 50s. be­cause of Down­ton Abbey . Peo­ple al­ways ex­pect me to have a labrador They’re of­ten re­ally dis­ap­pointed that I don’t. Padding­ton 2 is re­leased in cinemas na­tion­wide from 10 Novem­ber

My mother never talked about her job. It was only long af­ter she re­tired that I re­alised she’d worked in the MI6 build­ing

To read all the in­ter­views in this se­ries, go to ob­ this-much-i-know

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