Nigel Havers: On My Culture Radar

Actor Nigel Havers on why he has a soft spot for ‘Paddington 2’, Dire Straits and the classic musical ‘West Side Story’

Current favourite book?
A book I'll take with me everywhere is The Darling Buds of May by HE Bates. They made it into a TV series which was okay, but the book is a quintessential English novel about a character called Pop Larkin who's one of the great characters of English literature. The Darling Buds of May always reminds me of how beautiful the UK is. It's the easiest book to read and it makes you feel great after reading it.

It's in a hotel and it's called Colombe d'Or in St Paul de Vence in the south of France. I've been going there since I was about 10 and now I go there with my wife. Everything about it is just sublime. It's typical French, country food and the location is excellent – look it up on Google and you'll see how the restaurant is set up outside. It's beautiful.

Jack Whitehall. He's my godson. I've been watching him since he started and I don't have to worry about him now, he's doing alright.

There's so many young actors around at the moment and they're all very good. I'm glad I'm not young, as the competition is too high. Ben Whishaw is a wonderful actor, he's very interesting, and he was Paddington in Paddington 2, which is my favourite film at the moment.

My favourite is West Side Story. It's the most beautiful musical. I was only about eight or nine when it first came to the West End as a brand new musical, and everyone went crazy for it. The movie is fantastic too, I watch it regularly on telly. I haven't seen Hamilton yet but that's on my list of things to see.

I don't have one particular artist I admire, I have lots of different artists' work at home. I'm an open book, I'm willing to learn. I collect mostly early 20th century British artists like Edward Seago, the English impressionist painter in the 1940s and 1950s. He paints Norfolk and Suffolk, which is where I grew up, so I know that sky.

TV show
I like watching The Crown, it's fun to imagine how the Royal family behave. I suppose anything about the Royal family is fascinating to us, it's very weird.

I vote for Bafta so I shouldn't really say my favourite film, but it's Paddington 2. It's professional storytelling: it has a really strong beginning, middle and end. It can be watched by all the family too. As a grown up, you can't watch a film that's just aimed at children because you'll get bored. And it doesn't depress me. Most films depress me. Phantom Thread is so depressing, and Three Billboards was a bit depressing too, I found it really hard work.

It would be Dire Straits's self-titled first album. That was great music of its time. Dire Straits were a very interesting band and I loved their sound, they had a great swing to it and Mark Knopfler's guitar work was so intricate you could never have copied it. I got know Mark Knopfler later through mutual friends, so I go to see him in concert sometimes, he's just amazing.

Nigel Havers stars in Art at The Gaiety Theatre Dublin, March 19th-24th

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