Rosanna Greenstreet – The Guardian
3rd June 2017

The actor on being found in a compromising position in a dressing room, his chins and lots of good kisses

Roger Allam: ‘My wallpaper? A rather nice picture of me, actually.’ Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

Born in London, Roger Allam, joined the RSC in 1981. On television, he has played Peter Mannion in The Thick Of It, Illyrio Mopatis in Game Of Thrones and DI Fred Thursday in Endeavour. He currently stars in The Hippopotamus, based on Stephen Fry’s comic novel, which is released on 15 June. He is married with two sons and lives in London.

What is your earliest memory?
The sound of the tug boats and barges on the river in Bromley-by-Bow, where we lived in the rectory.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Wasting time.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

What was your most embarrassing moment?
Many years ago, I was found in compromising circumstances in a dressing room by a security man. The other person was hiding.

What is your most treasured possession?
Some paintings by a very old friend.

What is your wallpaper?
A rather nice picture of me, actually.

What would your super power be?
The ability to control people’s actions.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My chin. I’ve got another one underneath the first one.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Cary Grant.

Is it better to give or to receive?
At my stage of life, give. I’ve got plenty.

How do you relax?

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
When I was a child, it was a bus driver or engine driver; then, when I was a teenager, I went to the theatre and wanted to be an actor.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Always liking rather too much wine.

What do you owe your parents?
A sense of the value of ordinary life.

What was the best kiss of your life?
I am lucky that there have been many very good kisses.

Have you ever said ‘I love you’ and not meant it?
Yes, especially when I didn’t know what love meant.

Which living person do you most despise, and why?
Donald Trump for lying and introducing such potentially dangerous chaos to the world.

What is the worst job you’ve done?
Picking tiny bits of glass out of long grass for Haringey council, 45 years ago.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Not being active in my own desires.

When did you last cry, and why?
Reading aloud the last two pages of a book about Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell. It was about his relationship with his cat, and a letter to a friend whose dog had died. It’s about letting the unexpected happen to you, and how that can really be what life is about.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I was very proud of doing Falstaff, because it seemed to go well.

What keeps you awake at night?
The third or fourth glass of wine.

How would you like to be remembered?
Just remembered, really.