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" Dad was a strict disciplinarian and would give us a wallop with a wooden spoon if we were out of order. But we really respected him - he didn't try to be our best friend. "
" My mother was gentle and warm. She was the sort of person you could really open up to. I was the eldest and her only boy, so I guess I was treated differently. She did bring me up as a Catholic, and at one time I was an altar boy, but I lost my faith, as did my father, when my mother died at 45. "
" I don't like to watch myself on screen because in my mind there is a touch of George Clooney about me, but when I see it, there is more than a little Donkey from 'Shrek' about me. "
" If I wasn't an actor, I'd be a moody folk singer, sitting on stools and being very depressing. "
" My upbringing is so fundamentally different to my parents'. It must be strange to look at your child who not only speaks with a different accent but has a totally different view of the world. "
" I can watch anything from 1970s West Coast rock to 1990s electro-funk - I don't care. "
" I watch films. I play the guitar: me and some mates - I wouldn't dignify it with the term band - get together and play. "
" I thought the best route to being the great actor I wanted to be was to play the great classical parts. "
" Comedy is a very personal thing, and some people will find it funny, some people won't. "
" I'm a massive sucker for music documentaries. "
" I spent six years touring the world playing Shakespeare, Molire, Shaw, Goldsmith... But I slowly came to realise that the people you are working with are as important as the parts you play, and that there were lots of interesting people working in film and T.V. "
" My childhood was very gregarious, and I was usually surrounded by close family. "
" I learnt a lot about how to negotiate the camera: everyone had told me an actor doesn't really need to do anything on screen, but I realised that wasn't true. If you do nothing, it's boring. "
" I am a passionate believer that comedy is a way of tackling some of the most dark and difficult aspects of being a human being. "
" I was in a lot of school plays, and it became the thing I did. "
" When you've lost a loved one, you realise how grateful you are for any help in those moments, and any scheme that tries to help families during that terrible time gets my backing. "
" I come from an Irish working-class background but went to a posh school, and any type of pretension was quickly mocked at home. I've always had a keen eye for pretension. "
" Theatre's a much less faddish, more sensible world than TV or film. "
" There's always an anxiety about playing literary characters because one of the great joys of reading books is that you can create your own vision of things. "
" I had an inspirational teacher at my junior school: Peter Nixon. He was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and slightly scary - a good combination for a teacher. "
" I enter myself in races. I did a triathlon, and I have done a marathon a couple of times. "
" When I was 13, I won a scholarship to boarding school. My parents let me choose whether to go, and I decided I wanted to. Afterwards, I went to Cambridge to study law - in a way, I was carrying the academic hopes of my family, as Mum and Dad left school at 14. "