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20 Questions With ... David Haig

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Daivd Haig is currently starring in the title role of Alan Bennett's The Madness of George III at the West End's Apollo Theatre.

Haig was recently seen in the West End in Yes, Prime Minister, while amongst his many other stage credits is an Olivier Award-winning appearance in Our Country’s Good.

His screen credits include The Thick of It, Mo, My Boy Jack, The Thin Blue Line, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Bennett's Talking Heads.

The Madness of George III, which is directed by Christopher Luscombe, continues at the Apollo until 31 March.

Date & place of birth
20/9/55, Aldershot Barracks.

Lives now in
South London

What made you want to become an actor?
As a child I was pathologically lazy - until I met "acting". Suddenly I was prepared to work 24 hours a day and never thought of it as work. This had to be the right career.

If you hadn’t become an actor, what might you have done professionally?
For a long time I wanted to be an Art Historian. I still love the visual arts.

First big break?
On the stage it was the part of Maurice in Michael Hastings' brilliant play Tom and Viv at the Royal Court in 1985.

Career highlights to date?
Specifically on stage I would say: Ralph Clark in Our Country's Good 1988, Angelo in Trevor Nunn's Measure for Measure, Headingly in Michael Frayn's Donkey's Years and now George III in The Madness of George III. (On screen - finally getting my screenplay of My Boy Jack filmed in 2007.)

Favourite co-stars?
Too many to mention! Oh alright - Henry Goodman.

Favourite playwrights?
Terry Johnson, Alan Bennett, Michael Frayn, Chekhov, Arthur Miller, Alan Ayckbourn.

What was the first thing you saw on stage that had a big impact on you?
Brian Rix in Chase me Comrade.

And the last?
I, like so many others, loved Jerusalem.

What's the best advice you have ever received?
Don't boast, about yourself or your children.

Do you often get recognised? If so, for which role?
If I have my moustache, I'm recognised a lot, particularly for The Thin Blue Line and Four Weddings and a Funeral. Without the 'tache I'm pretty invisible!

Are there any parts you would particularly like to play?
King Lear, one day. In another lifetime, Iago, but it's too late now.

Favourite book?
Dr Zhivago.

Favourite holiday destination?
Any of the thousands of places I've never visited. (Has to be somewhere warm though.)

Why did you want to get involved with this production?
I've always loved the play and always loved the part.

Was it daunting stepping into Nigel Hawthorne's shoes?
Not really. With such a broad and profound role there are a million different ways to play it. Having said that, I loved Nigel Hawthorne's acting and thought he was magnificent as George.

What’s your favourite line in the show?
"The queen's a treasure... not a beauty, not a beauty, but the better for it, character what counts eh? What, what.”

How does playing the West End compare to playing the regions?
Actually the experience has been very similar and the audience response very similar. Long may it last.

What have you got lined up next?
Aha... lots of exciting "maybes"


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