Ian mckellen dating
Let’s face it, it’s alluring when it happens.’Jacobi too had a moment of doubt about whether to accept his knighthood.‘I did think long and hard about it, but for different reasons.‘Yes, I did fancy Derek, but I didn’t act on it, God, no. I do get on my high horse about it, because it was so difficult. When he finally gets the chance to talk – Mc- Kellen is definitely the chattier of the two – his story is no less compelling. It’s now very hard if you don’t have connections in the business.’The differences between the two men are writ large when our shoot is over and they see the results on a computer screen. One of the most telling exchanges is when they talk about working in a sitcom environment for Vicious, which was ‘someone else’s territory’. ‘We’re always telling each other that we’re brilliant, I’m always telling you that, aren’t I Derek? Sir Ian scrutinises every shot, wondering if his expression should have been more spontaneous, his eyes a little brighter. ‘She said, “All young men, go through this phase, don’t worry.” I remember saying, “Don’t tell Dad.”’ He doesn’t know to this day if she did. But they were wonderful, my parents, not much was said but they kind of knew, they got it.’Mc Kellen hasn’t heard his friend talk of this before. One of the reasons I became an actor was that you could meet gay people. When you went to America they asked, “Are you now, or have you ever been, homosexual? It was a different world.’His anger propelled him into the gay rights movement, and he’s still a very vocal campaigner. It doesn’t mean I don’t feel as strongly about it, I just don’t talk about it.’ In fact, he’s been with his partner Richard Clifford for nearly 40 years (they got together just after his first major TV role in the BBC’s I, Claudius), and they entered into a civil partnership in 2006. It was a long slog, but one open to everyone, ‘even working-class boys like us’, says Jacobi (the accents don’t give much away now, but Mc Kellen is from Burnley in Lancashire, Jacobi is an East End boy). Mc Kellen remembers being offered three theatre jobs and taking the one that paid the most – £8 a week. Now people say, “Ooh, only rich boys and girls” are becoming actors.‘That’s the first time I’ve heard that,’ he says, genuinely moved. Biggest regret of my life.’ It turns out he didn’t even come out to Derek at university, even though it’s always been reported that he had something of a crush on him. Jacobi, on the other hand, took the opposite route. 'If they knew, or thought, I was gay, that was fine. I don’t know if that’s true, but if the impression is there it’s because the old system has gone. ‘It makes me uncomfortable.’ It’s the same with reviews – he doesn’t read them. If I can avoid the stress of being murdered in the press, I will.’Surprisingly, for such giants of the industry, they each seem quite needy, in different ways. It’s like being in the company of two teenagers, although slightly more terrifying, given the risk of a double garrotting.They’re quite a hoot, and far less stuffy than you’d imagine two knights of the realm to be, insisting that we dispense with the constant ‘Sirs’.
It’s not as if I phone up a restaurant and say, “It’s Sir Derek”.
As if Sir Derek Jacobi makes his own restaurant bookings!