The Daily Mail has a great Q&A with Brendan Coyle. One of the things mentioned is his new project, Starlings, which airs on Sky1 HD on Sunday 13 May at 8pm:
What is your earliest childhood memory? Standing at my mother’s feet, in my granny’s kitchen. My granny and my mum were ‘blethering’ as they would call it – they were both Scottish women who lived in Corby in Northamptonshire. I remember looking out of the window and seeing a long row of gardens with washing blowing and hearing the wind making a whistling sound. It was the first time I’d heard the wind. I was about four I reckon.Such a cute interview!
Who has been the biggest influence on you? My granny. She was quite fearsome but brilliantly bright and passionate.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become an actor?
I would have loved to have been a footballer like my great uncle Matt Busby, but I knew quite early on – about 13 or 14 – that I wasn’t going to make the grade. My dad was a master butcher and I trained to be a butcher when I left school. I didn’t enjoy it at the time but I love cooking now so perhaps I would have been a chef.
You have said that you would like to settle down…what do you look for in a woman? The qualities I am looking for in Miss Right are intelligence and humour.
Who has been your favourite leading lady so far? Oh, that’s a really unfair question! I’ve been lucky; in the last handful of years I’ve ‘had’ – if you’ll excuse the expression – Lesley Sharp, Claudie Blakley, Joanne Froggatt, Nicola Walker and Michelle Fairley…great, great leading ladies.
What traits do you share with Mr Bates? We both have a love of hats. My current favourite is an Eric Morecambe flat cap that I’ve been rocking!
What is the best thing about being a household name? Am I a household name? I still can’t get my head around that. I suppose it gives me more choice in my work. I am filming Downton Abbey at the moment which I love, and Starlings [Brendan’s new comedy drama series] has become my favourite ever thing. I am itching to get back on stage again, though – I have been banging on to my agent about doing more theatre.
And the worst thing about being famous? Being photographed while eating; having your picture taken while you are slurping your soup is really off-putting!
What’s the weirdest piece of fan mail you’ve received? I have had a pair of pants sent to me – by a man! But generally I get really nice mail.
Where do you call home? I live quite a nomadic life.
At the moment I gravitate to north Norfolk where I am renovating a period property, so I am up there quite a lot. And I’ve just bought a place in London. One of the reasons I love London is that I don’t have to be there the whole time.
How do you like to spend your time off camera? I love to go to the theatre in London – especially when I can combine it with seeing my mates. I am going to see Claudie [Blakley] performing in The Comedy of Errors tonight. Or I just like mooching around the beaches near where I live in Norfolk.
Have you ever been given any good advice? ‘You won’t play for Manchester United!’ It wasn’t Matt Busby who said it – it was pretty much everyone who saw me play!
Do you have any regrets? I left school at 16 but I wish I’d gone to university – I think I would have studied English literature, I had a knack for that. But I don’t think you have the kind of wisdom at 16 to make
What is your biggest bugbear? It depends what day it is – at the moment
bad music playing in restaurants and shops is bugging me. And people bellowing into their mobile phones gets on my nerves.
Your guilty pleasure? I’ve learnt not to feel guilty about pleasures any more.