…is an English stage, film and television actor. In 1984, he was appointed CBE for his services to drama. He is patron of the National Piers Society and supports Cancer Research UK. He lives with his wife Prunella Scales in Wandsworth.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m in EastEnders. It is hard work, you don’t get very much time to do anything else. But never mind, they are lovely people and it is fun to do.

When were you at your happiest?
During the 1960s, I suppose. Everything I was doing seemed to be going well and was enjoyable and I made a lot of friends. People are knocking the 1960s now but I think that it was a good time; it was a time when you were encouraged to think about other people. We joined in things and probably made complete asses of ourselves with the hippy thing. I never actually stood outside a Tube station with a flower, determined that people should smile. But I did buy a kaftan. I still have it.

What is your greatest fear?

What is your earliest memory?
I would think a sandstorm at the beach when I was in my pram. It must have been on a family holiday. I was about one but it was a really rather scary sandstorm.

What do you most dislike about yourself?
My indecision.

Who has been your greatest influence?

What is your most treasured possession?
My wife.

What trait do you most deplore in others?

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Lots of things, my scowl I think. I’m not conscious of it but reporters always mention ‘his scowl…’ I didn’t think I was scowling; I thought I was being quite happy.

What is your favourite book?

What is your favourite film?
Guys And Dolls.


And what is your favourite record or piece of music?

It would certainly be one of the Haydn masses, probably the St Nicholas Mass.

What is your favourite meal?
Lobster, served cold with salad.

Who would you most like to come to dinner?
Peter Ustinov and he’d like a n nice companion, someone he’d get on with… perhaps Judi Dench.

What is the nastiest thing anyone has ever said to you?
I remember all the nasty things. It was a critic who had seen a performance where I hadn’t absolutely been quite on top of my form and I fluff ed a few lines. He wrote his whole notice about how this is a terrible actor, why are we calling him a good actor because he always forgets his lines. I thought that was rather unnecessary. It was only on one occasion. You can probably guess the paper.

Do you believe in aliens?

What is your secret vice?
Exploring old railway tracks.

Do you write thank-you notes?

Which phrase do you most overuse?
‘I think’.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
An ability to understand my laptop.

Tell us one thing people might not know about you…
I’m a Freeman of the City of London; I have been for 15 years, I think. It means I can drive a flock of sheep over London Bridge. I haven’t got a flock of sheep.

What would you like your epitaph to read?
When we were in rep, we did a lot of Agatha Christie thrillers and somebody would always say, ‘Is he?’ and somebody else would say, ‘I’m afraid so.’ So I think I’d have: ‘Is he? I’m afraid so.’

Timothy West will be reading at the Kids For Kids Candlelit Christmas Concert at All Saints Fulham, Putney Bridge Approach, London SW6 on 4 December. For tickets: 020-7736 3264.