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Ian McKellen once snuck out of a Buckingham Palace party with Judi Dench to go sit on the Queen's throne

The hilarious anecdote is a deleted scene from the upcoming documentary McKellen: Playing the Part

Clarisse Loughrey
Thursday 17 May 2018 16:30
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Playing The Part: Sir Ian McKellen reveals he sat in the Queens throne at a party at Buckingham Palace

A childhood spent in wartime, a pioneer of theatre, a leader for equality.

Ian McKellen‘s life – in private, on stage, and on screen – is truly one to inspire. A new documentary, titled McKellen: Playing the Part and directed by Joe Stephenson, builds itself around a 14-hour interview with the screen icon, from his early days working through repertory and West End theatre to his mainstream hits as Magneto and Gandalf.

The film also has unprecedented access to private photo albums, never-before-seen archive material, including diaries written when he was 12, unseen behind the scenes of theatre shows and films, alongside his personal reflection.

The likes of Luke Evans, Frances Barber, Adam Brown, Scott Chambers, Milo Parker and Edward Petherbridge also pitch in for a few dramatic recreations.

A new, exclusive clip sees one story that didn’t make the final cut: McKellen recalls the time he and fellow thespian Judi Dench attended a banquet in Buckingham Palace, surreptitiously making their way behind the scenes – and taking a seat on the royal thrones.

“Ian was sceptical all along the way as to whether his life was interesting enough, and whether there was an audience out there interested enough,” Stephenson said of the film.

“Time will tell, but learning about his life on this level has only made me more inspired and more grateful to be able to call him a friend. It has been an honour to be trusted with his story, and I hope audiences enjoy his journey as much as I have enjoyed discovering it.”

McKellen: Playing the Part, featuring a live Q&A with Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi and others and hosted by Graham Norton will be broadcast live to cinemas across the UK on Sunday 27 May. Find your local screening here.

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