My Secret Life: Hugh Bonneville, actor, 47

My parents were... and are fantastic role models. They met at St Mary's medical school. After they married, my mother gave up nursing to be a mum, dad went on to be a surgeon. Now, in their eighties, they show no signs of slowing down; they have a busier social life than I do and they always put the needs of others before their own. They are truly remarkable people.

The household I grew up in... was an imposing Edwardian house in Blackheath, south-east London. In my memory it had something of the Addams family about it. The stairs creaked at strange times of the night, which turned me into a light sleeper.

When I was a child I wanted to... be a train driver, which is a bit of a cliché. After that I went through a rather strange period when I wanted to be a town planner.

If I could change one thing about myself... it would be to stop impulse buying. I still have no idea why I purchased that spare shower attachment the other day.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... navigation. I have an excellent internal compass.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... base jumping.

At night I dream of... lying on a beach in the Maldives.

What I see when I look in the mirror... Brad Pitt.

I wish I'd never worn... white dungarees when I was 12.

I drive... a Renault Mégane. To get the spec I wanted I had to accept the colour: a nausea-inducing metallic blue. My wife drives a tank, or rather a Volvo XC90. The only thing I like about it is that you can spot it in any car park.

My house is... a converted Victorian coach house on the West Sussex/Hampshire border. It's in a hamlet of houses that used to service the Big House up the hill.

My favourite item of clothing... is a grey cashmere hoodie.

My favourite work of art... A lush tropical forest landscape by David Marrian. No one will know it because it's on my wall.

My favourite building... St Paul's Cathedral. I did a programme about Sir Christopher Wren a few years ago. Learning about his original designs and seeing 'backstage' made me appreciate what a phenomenal work of architecture it is.

The last album I bought... MICroscope by Riz MC. Riz Ahmed is a multi-talented Renaissance man who I'm lucky enough to count as a friend.

Movie heaven... A combination of David Lean, Powell and Pressburger, and Pixar.

A book that changed me... Stig of the Dump by Clive King. I identified with Barney, the boy who befriends a caveman he discovers in a quarry. It captured my imagination and I started writing plays based on their adventures. Really terrible plays which I made my friends act in – they only had supporting parts, obviously.

My secret crush is... Matt Cardle. I went to The X Factor semi-finals and he couldn't have been a more charming gentleman.

My greatest regret... Je ne regrette rien.

My real-life villains... A boy at school. He knows who he is.

The last time I cried... Toy Story 3. When my son leaves home I am going to hide in his suitcase.

What's the point? To do it now.

My life in six words... Going well until it all stops.

A life in brief

Hugh Bonneville was born in London in 1963. After graduating from Cambridge, he acted at the National Theatre and the RSC in plays such as School for Wives and 'Tis Pity She's a Whore. His cinematic outings include Notting Hill, Iris, Glorious 39 and Scenes of a Sexual Nature. Bonneville recently starred in the ITV costume drama Downton Abbey, comedy series Twenty Twelve, and crime drama The Silence. He lives in Sussex with his wife and son

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before