HE may have spent some of his youth in Wigan, but now Sir Ian McKellen has dropped his northern roots.
The Lord of the Rings star told the Radio Times that he had spent so much time in London that he has lost all connection with the region.
He said: “I certainly wouldn’t define myself as a northerner. I’m not even really sure what that means. I’ve lived in London for 50 years. I wasn’t born here but I have spent most of my life here. So I don’t make much of it to be honest.”
Despite having a drama studio named after him at the independent Bolton School in the town where he was head boy, he added: “I don’t go back. I’ve not got family there so I’ve no reason to do so unless it is for work. When I appeared in Coronation Street I lived in Manchester and enjoyed it very much. “But otherwise, no.”
The X-Men actor is presently performing a Radio 4 dramatisation of Honoré de Balzac’s 1833 novel Eugénie Grandet, where ironically he has given a Bolton accent to his character Felix Grandet.
Born in the Ribble Valley, Sir Ian spent his early years in the towns of Burnley and Wigan before his civil engineer father Denis’s work took the family to Bolton.
The 75-year-old also claimed actors deserved the same economic recognition as other low-paid workers. He said: “Most actors are not rich – they are very poor indeed. What keeps them going is that they just love the job. I know actors who have had to turn down good roles because they just don’t pay enough. The one thing you can ask is that actors get paid a living wage. I would like it if all the repertory theatres could do that. It would make a huge difference.”
Meanwhile, could the veteran actor appear in musical comedy drama Glee?
He encouraged his more than one million Twitter followers to tweet him their questions earlier this week. When one fan asked if he would ever guest star on Glee, he tweeted: “If the entire cast of Glee got down on their knees I might have to consider it.”