I had to think long and hard about what it would imply, what it would mean. Would it mean any alterations of one's lifestyle? Or, more than that, the way that people regarded you? The way they reacted to you if you had a Sir in front of your name?
I shall miss all the people in it and the great fun we had doing it. I enjoyed playing the character very much. It was a very, very special character and a very special series. And the camaraderie of it all. I loved it.
I think actors always retain one foot in the cradle. We're switched on to our youth, to our childhood. We have to be because we're in the business of transferring emotions to other people.
I've been a professional actor now for 38 years. A long time. And it's wonderful to earn your living doing something that you love. To think people actually give you money for it!
It's often difficult to slough off all that we've acquired, all the comforts and safety nets modern life provides for us, and realize that in those days, people were living very much on the edge - life was incredibly hard!
Real-life people are often the hardest to play, people that you recreate who have actually lived, because you have to live up to people's knowledge of those characters.
Reputation is fine but you have to keep justifying it. In a sense, it makes it harder because people's expectations of you are higher. So, you have to fulfill those expectations. Or, try to exceed those expectations. But, it becomes more difficult as time goes on.
He was somebody who made me think, I suppose, about the contemplative life. I've always been a city fellow, but I've often had vague thoughts about 'checking out' and perhaps going into a monastery and just seeing what it was like.
I don't think he's permanently affected me except in the sense that I miss him. I miss being him. Or trying to be him. He is one of a gallery of characters that have had an impact on my career and therefore my life.
It's too hard a life for me. I could only do it - check out in that sense - if I checked out somewhere that was luxurious and within hailing distance of civilization.
Originally they wanted it to be bigger, but I pleaded and pleaded and pleaded to have the smallest tonsure that they could get away with. A tonsure that could still be seen, but, I worried about my social life!
They were totally supportive, always saw everything I did. One of the thrills of my life was when they went to the theater to see something that I wasn't in. It opened doors for them that otherwise would have been totally closed.
I thought it was getting better and better, because the production values were increasing each time we did it.
Ultimately it's a leap of faith and a leap of imagination to put yourself back in time into those conditions and situations and see how you would react.
I think my parents were happy that I'd gone to university and gotten a degree in history so they thought, 'Well if acting doesn't work for him, he can always become a history teacher or something.' Fortunately, the acting worked out.