Ian McKellen may be one of the leading classical stage actors of his generation, but his forays into film in recent years - as baddie Magneto in X-Men and wizard Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings - shows he has a frivolous side, too. Speaking to Michael Parkinson on his eponymous BBC TV chat show this week, McKellen admitted that not only is he keen to play a pantomime dame, but that he'd also like to take part in more variety shows in general. Unfortunately, as variety is a dying art form, the actor can't find anywhere suitable to indulge his desire. McKellen has previously let loose as Captain Hook in a Christmas production of Peter Pan at the National Theatre, but is best known to theatregoers for his more serious roles such as Strindberg's marital breakdown drama, Dance of Death, in which he's currently starring with Frances de la Tour and Owen Teale at the West End's Lyric Theatre.