The legendary actor on life on the stage and his love of adventure…
Interview by: Rosalind Sack
Surrey is the most beautiful place to live. I’ve lived just a few miles from Guildford for 40 years. My father came down from Yorkshire one day and said: ‘My God, it’s so green.’ The people are kind, sensitive and lovely, and they have a gentleness that I find very moving.
I love adventure, I fear nothing. I’m 50% actor, 50% explorer. I’ve been to Everest a few times and I’m the oldest man to reach the North Pole. I’m hoping to go to the International Space Station soon, and I’ve done about 600 hours of space training in Moscow and Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. I’m also working on the Skylon spaceplane in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.
I have my own gym, which looks like Rocky’s gym. It’s really rough with rust and dust and punchbags and great big weights, none of that namby pamby stuff. My dogs sit around the edges watching me, thinking: ‘He’s as mad as a hatter!’ I believe in keeping fit and powerful so I do a lot of training – bench presses, walking and running. I regularly walk up and down Box Hill eight or nine times, which keeps my legs trim. I’m always ready for my expeditions – always within three weeks of complete fitness.
I want to go into space. I want to go to Mars and the Moon. I want to be the oldest man in the world to defy the impossible climb up Everest without oxygen and I want to go to the bottom of the sea, which is deeper than Everest is high. I want to go all over the world and have all kinds of adventures.
Retire is a word that’s not in my dictionary. You don’t retire from life, you’ve got to go on. I do believe completely that nature doesn’t cheat and that there is no one like you. We all have something that nobody else has and you’ve got to bring it out.