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Beavis and Butt-head’s biggest fan on theft, tea and Tetris.

When was the last time you stole something?
It was quite a long time ago. I think I walked off with an ashtray from Claridges.

What would you do if you caught someone defacing your star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
It would depend on the nature of the defacement. If somebody had written across it, “English pig, you will die tonight,” it might be a little unnerving. If, on the other hand, it was just some chewing gum, that wouldn’t concern me quite as much.

Do Americans see you as a repressed Englishman?
Most people here know me as the captain of the Enterprise. He’s not repressed, but he’s undoubtedly somewhat contained. To a considerable extent, that is the view people have of me.

Are you a repressed Englishman?
Not at all. America has been very good to me. I’ve become a little more extroverted, a little more relaxed and even more fun.

Five years ago, you were voted ‘Most Bodacious Man’ on American TV. How bodacious are you?
Oh, considerably bodacious. All of that seemed a mystery to me, but it helped me think of myself as more of a leading man. I was a character actor when I was 19. I was never a juvenile. Ever.

Why not?
I didn’t look or behave like a young person, even as a teenager. Of course, I lost my hair when I was 19, which dramatically affects how people perceive you. Now I’m in my fifties; it seems not to matter quite much. Unless you can find a cure, the secret is to cut it all off.

Have you ever had a comb-over?
Oh god, I did that for a while, and it was horrible.

What’s your least favourite synonym for ‘bald’?
When I accepted the job on Star Trek in 1987, my daughter, who was then 15, used the expression “To baldy go where no man has gone before”. I thought that was tremendously funny. I actually find the whole subject of my head really dull. I also have a big nose, but people don’t ask me about that because it would be considered rude. Somehow it’s always open season with baldness, though?

Do you still play a lot of Tetris?
Actually, I do. My Gameboy is my constant companion when I’m working. When I was filming Moby Dick, I had it tucked into Captain Ahab’s coat pockets. It continues to amuse me.

What’s your high score?
168,000. I know that’s not great by some standards, but I’m pretty pleased with it.

Do you own an action figure of yourself?
Under my contract, the studio is required to give each one of us every single thing that’s produced with our name or likeness on it. I have a whole storeroom full of everything, from Captain Picard toby jugs to T-shirts with my face on them.

Do you ever wear those T-shirts?
No Sir.

Not even around the house?
I don’t. There would always be the danger of forgetting I had it on and going to the shops wearing it. From time to time, my assistant will wear one if she wants to make some point.

Do you have any souvenirs from doing The Simpsons?
I have a fabulous baseball jacket with all the different characters on it. I’m very, very proud of that. It’s curious that with all the work I’ve done – the years with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the West End and Broadway and making serious movies – the things I’m most asked about are appearing as a voice on The Simpsons, doing an episode of Sesame Street and the fact that I’m a massive fan of Beavis and Butt-head.

When did you do Sesame Street?
Two years ago.

Can you remember what the letter was?
The letter that I was involved with was ‘B’. They dressed me up to look like Hamlet, and I had a large letter ‘B’ in my hand. I solemnly intoned, “A ‘B’ or not a ‘B'”. They wrote the whole monologue. I also had a lovely scene with The Count.

What do you spend all your money on?
Listen, I’m a Yorkshireman – I don’t spend it. I live in a lovely house, and I drive a nice car. For the rest, I’m an obsessive saver. I continue to feel somewhat uncomfortable about this whole matter of earnings. It’s only the Star Trek movies that pay these whopping great salaries.

When you first looked at the scripts for Star Trek, were you quite annoyed that the old captain [Kirk] was getting girls almost every week, and you weren’t getting any?
That didn’t interest me for quite some time. We were a year or two into the series before I said, “Come on, guys, we’re failing to find some romance in this character.” So we did, and there were several quite jolly episodes after that.

In Star Trek, you drink a lot of Earl Grey. Do you see that as a man’s tea?
When it first came up that Captain Picard was going to drink a lot of tea, I suggested Lapsang Souchong, But the producers thought nobody would know what it was. I must urge people not to send me any more Earl Grey. I’ve got so much of it now I could open a tea shop.

What’s the strangest fan experience you’ve had?
Mostly they’re delightful. Then there are the scary ones – the unhinged people who become obsessive. The most charming experience was when I was working in Zagreb. I went to dinner with a friend at a fancy restaurant in a converted monastery. We were welcomed very formally and shown to our table with no special treatment whatsoever. Halfway through the meal, the salad came, and on each of our plates, there was a beautifully constructed model of the Enterprise made out of peppers, cucumbers, carrots and other vegetables. We spent the whole evening there, and no one made any reference to Star Trek except for that.

Given a chance, would you go into space?
Like a shot! I’ve met John Glenn, he’s going later this year, and I’ve been invited to watch the launch. When you’re a kid, it’s like you take your football boots to the local match, hoping they’d call on you to run out and replace the injured centre-forward. It never happens, but somebody might say, “Jean-Luc Picard’s here – Let’s put him on as well.”

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Well, I’ve taken a lot of stick for my advocacy of Beavis and Butt-head. I did get into trouble once walking across Central Park in New York. Some woman was yelling at me, and she was very hostile. She said, “You should know better. It’s disgraceful. It’s shameful.” I realised I was wearing a Beavis and Butt-head T-Shirt, and on the back of it said “Education Sucks”. I was quite embarrassed about that.

Did you prefer the rock or rap numbers on their show?
I preferred the rock. They were always funnier. I’ve actually got a Beavis and Butt-head calendar which I’m using now. They did a whole Star Trek thing, so the month of April is them as Ryker and Captain Picard. It is one of the greatest acknowledgements of anything I’ve ever done.

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