John Gordon Sinclair's insulted to be called an actor

FAME, John Gordon' Sinclair would seem to suggest, arrrived at his Knightswood doorstep like an unexpected, excited aunt from America.

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  • John Gordon Sinclair as Jeeves and James Lance as Bertie Wooster in Jeves & Wooster: Perfect Nonsense, coming to Glasgow in November
    John Gordon Sinclair as Jeeves and James Lance as Bertie Wooster in Jeves & Wooster: Perfect Nonsense, coming to Glasgow in November
  • John Gordon Sinclair as Jeeves and James Lance as Bertie Wooster in Jeves & Wooster: Perfect Nonsense, coming to Glasgow in November

After the success of Gregory's Girl in 1981, she took him by the hand to London, where he starred in television and West End theatre shows such as The Producers and The Ladykillers.

Yet, he admits he never pursued an acting actor.

In fact, he's not even comfortable being called an actor.

And all the signs are John Gordon Sinclair's name won't be on the front of theatres for too much longer.

"I once fancied appearing in Friends," he says of acting dreams.

"And I'd still like to appear in a Woody Allen movie. But that's as much acting ambition as I've ever had."

Gordon may be starring in current West End hit Jeeves & Wooster: Perfect Nonsense - which is set to come to Glasgow on its UK tour - but he reveals he only agreed to the role because he really likes director Sean Foley's very clever staging.

And just to further confound expectation, Gordon reveals he doesn't actually like actors much.

"I can't stand all the luvvy, needyness of it all," he says, while pouring tea in his dressing room in London's Duke of York's theatre.

"And I really don't like it when people refer to me as an actor."

But you are one, Gordon. You have been since Glasgow Youth Theatre days.

"I know," he says, acknowledging the irony. "I wonder sometimes if that's something I should get help with."

Is the reluctance to acknowledge his acting career about not having gone to drama school, or stinted in rep theatre?

"I don't know," he ponders.

"I think I'd like to talk to someone about why I feel insulted when people call me an actor."

Yet as a teenager he reveals he tried to get a job at Glasgow's prestigious Citizens' Theatre.

"But I wasn't cool enough for the Citz," he says.

"Come to think of it, I'm probably still not cool enough. In fact, I'm never offered work in Scotland."

Gordon won his Olivier Theatre award in 1995 for She Loves Me, yet, curiously, the National Theatre of Scotland doesn't have his number on speed dial.

"I never get asked," he says with a shrug.

"I'm comfortable on stage these days. I don't tend to get nervous any more.

"I get a bit darker when I'm trying to learn my lines, but not on stage."

He is excellent in Jeeves & Wooster, playing five characters, including the butler who's dryer than a pink gin.

The plot is perfect nonsense, the narrative almost non-existent but it's great fun; think Kind Hearts and Coronets Meets The 39 Steps.

Yet, the show is dependent upon 19 quick costume changes. How does he cope when things go wrong?

"I quite like it," he says mischievously. Why? Is this because you're slightly mentally disturbed?

"I don't know," he says, smiling.

"You'd need to ask someone more professionally qualified than me. But I like it so long as the audience are with you. I hate to see actors laughing amongst themselves on stage."

Do other actors get miffed about his criticism of the job?

"Yes," he says.

"A friend of my has told me to turn it down a bit. He says it's all a bit too honest."

Gordon's honesty extends to self-description. He declares himself 'a mild sociopath.'

"I used to go to the showbiz parties, because I figured that's what you do," he adds.

"But I felt incredibly uncomfortable to the point I felt I should go talk to someone about that, to find out what's wrong."

But he did run with the acting crowd for a while. And enjoy the attention of the ladies?

"I wish I'd been a bit more aware of how it all worked," he says grinning about the sexual opportunity that befalls the famous.

"When girls were interested I didn't know about it until later. I was a bit of a tube."

As chat continues, he reinforces the notion his DNA contains very little greasepaint. A great example is his Hollywood story, when he was once sent over to see a casting agent.

"I went to an 11.30 meeting and it got to 12 o'clock and this woman was still on the phone so I got up and left. My agent went mental. But I didn't bother. I just had a holiday and enjoyed myself."

Gordon's now happily married to doctor wife Shauna (they were introduced by Clare Grogan). They have two girls (aged six and eight) and live in Surrey.

And he reveals that's where his next professional appearance will take place. In his shed.

Gordon is now a successful writer, with two dark thriller novels - Seven Times Seventy, and Blood Whispers - published to great critical acclaim.

At the end of the year, he reveals he's pulling down the curtain on acting for the forseeable future (see him in Scotland while you have the chance) to write, and he's excited at the prospect.

But has he ever considered therapy, given he references the subject so often?

"No, because I'm Scottish," he says, laughing. "Plus, if I told my mum and dad I was going to see a therapist they'd tell me to catch myself on."

l Jeeves and Wooster: Perfect Nonsense, Theatre Royal, November 24-29.

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