Sir Ian McKellen

Ian Mackellen background

How do I act so well?

What I do is I pretend to be the person I’m portraying in the film or play.

You’re confused. It’s perfectly simple.

Case in point: Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson comes from New Zealand and says to me ‘Sir Ian, I want you to be Gandalf the wizard’ and I say to him ‘you are aware that I’m not really a wizard…’

And he says ‘yes, I am aware of that. What I want you to do is to use your acting skills to portray the wizard for the duration of the film.’

So I said ‘ok’. And then I said to myself ‘hmmm, how would I do that?’

And this is what I did. I imagined what it would be like to be a wizard and then I pretended and acted in that way on the day.

And how did I know what to say? The words were written down for me in a script. And how did I know where to stand?….People told me.

If we were to draw a graph of my process – my method – it would be something like this:

‘Sir Ian, Sir, Ian, Sir Ian, action, WIZARD! YOU SHALL NOT PASS! cut, Sir Ian, Sir Ian, Sir Ian.’


T shirts

Redbubble 1

Having been literally* inundated with requests for J.O.D T shirts which I either cannot be arsed or have point-blank refused to make (mother, I am NOT making you a t shirt with Adam Buxton’s willy on it), I’ve decided to outsource the legwork (and almost all the dollar) to a charming little website called Redbubble. They’ll buy all the raw materials, do all the printing, handle the postage and packing, and only take almost all the profits by way of recompense! Kapow.

Redbubble 2

What’s more – dauntless, profligate fools that they are – they’re prepared to take on my seemingly unassailable customer care promise of ‘delivery within 30 years or go fuck yourself.’ Bold business model if you ask me. Please ask me. Someone ask me SOMETHING.

Anyway, as with everything I do, I’ve put some serious market research into this. By which I mean I’ve immediately embarked upon the path of very least resistance and fist-flailingly refused to acknowledge any ‘facts’ threaten to block it. I’m suddenly reminded of a GCSE history essay in which I dealt with an untimely mental block by stubbornly declaring that, contrary to popular belief, the UK’s representative at the 1945 Potsdam Conference was not Clement Attlee but former Holland manager Dick Advocaat (born two years later). Who knew.

Redbubble 3

Still, I reckon I’m now fully across what ‘the market’ wants this season. But the market is an idiot.

‘The market,’ for instance, may seek to impress upon you that the time to sell a T shirt with Sir Alex Ferguson’s face on it would have been either in May 2013 (when he retired from football) or in October 2013 (when he published his autobiography) and not in December 2013 when he’s probably not going to do anything.

‘The market’ may also try to persuade you that, no matter what time of which year it might be, nobody ever wants a T shirt with Gordon Brown’s face on it. Ever.

Redbubble 4



*I use the word’ literally’ here in the same way that Jamie Redknapp uses it when he confidently declaims in his youth, Michael Owen was literally a greyhound.”