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‘I did think long and hard about it, but for different reasons.
I remembered how I’d felt as a young actor, meeting all those Sirs we’d spent our lives admiring: Sir Laurence, Sir John, Sir Ralph.
My big fear is that an interview with two of the biggest theatrical legends of our age is going to be a bit of a bore, with one lengthy (if impeccably delivered) anecdote about playing Laertes at the National merging into the next.
And if we all said no, it would stop.’ So why did he say yes? ‘I was very involved with the gay rights movement at the time and I called up three friends to ask them what they thought.
The first said that having a knighted, openly gay man added a little more weight to one’s ability to push a door.
I wasn’t sure I could do all that – not send up actors on top of everything, to the point where Derek said he would play the actor, if it helped.’Jacobi has long championed the need to have more TV dramas that represent people of their age. Although I don’t deny they exist, I wanted something of a more documentary nature, more like Shameless.
He says the joy of doing Last Tango was of being able to play an older character who was still having fun – and sex! ‘I thought if there was going to be a sitcom about gay people it should be about people I recognised – and these weren’t people I knew of. These two don’t seem to have noticed the world has changed.’Neither was convinced the scripts were funny enough either – until they did a read-through at Jacobi’s home.