This wasn`t just a sitcom. It was like watching a five-act Ibsen (Henrik Ibsen) play. Corbett was making us laugh, but we were laughing at his pain and the hopelessness of his situation. Then there were the story lines ... politics, class, religion, sex. This wasn`t what an early-1960s comedy was supposed to deal with. Everybody knows his Steptoe ("Steptoe and Son" (1962)) voice, but that was nothing like his real voice. He was actually raised in Wythenshawe. He had that peculiar northern thing of trying to make his accent posher than it was. A bit like Harold, really. So much of his real life mirrored Steptoe and I think Galton (Ray Galton) and Simpson (Alan Simpson) picked up on that. Unfortunately, typecasting was far more prevalent in those days. Harry H. Corbett was, without doubt, the finest actor in the country, but the more successful he was as Steptoe, the less work he was offered. He wanted to walk away, but he couldn`t. He was very comfortably trapped. I`ve got mates who are in exactly the same situation. Starring in hugely successful shows, earning loads of money - but they can`t stand their jobs. The country loved Harold Steptoe, but Corbett hated him. Really hated him. (On playing Harry H. Corbett in The Curse of Steptoe (2008) (TV))
Every time I make a plan, God laughs at me.
On the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling: "I went off and read the books after the audition and I read all four books in one sitting - you know - didn`t wash, didn`t eat, drove around with them on the steering wheel like a lunatic. I suddenly understood why my friends, who I`d thought where slightly backward, had been so addicted to these children`s books. They`re like crack."
I imagine like most of us that I`d like obscene amounts of money but the people I met and worked with who have those obscene amounts of money and have obscene amounts of fame have awful lives. Really. I mean hideously compromised lives. And I can go anywhere. No one knows who I am. I can go on the tube and bus and wander through the streets. So I`m quite happy not to get the girl.
Look, I play all these tough guys and thugs and strong, complex characters. In real life, I am a cringing, neurotic Jewish mess. Can`t I for once play that on stage? -to the producers of the stage version of "Angels in America" while auditioning for the part of "Louis".