The house/flat I grew up in ... was on a sprawling modern council estate in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, not far from Ken Dodd.
When I was a child I wanted to be ... everything: a policeman, a soldier, an astronaut. Then I realised, being an actor, I'd have the licence to do all these things.
The moment that changed me for ever ... was my father's death, when I was 15. He was very ill for a very long time, and eventually died from a haemorrhage at our family home, aged 54.
My greatest inspiration ... is my wife, Esther [Freud, the novelist]. I thought writers were inspired people, but she taught me that it's about getting to your desk each day, not waiting for magical inspiration to fly through the window and hit you.
My real-life villain ... is Dick Cheney. Bush is a puppet, with people behind him pulling the strings; mainly those who have American business as their agenda.
If I could change one thing about myself ... I'd change my inner clock. It takes a long time to drag myself out of bed and at night I'm buzzing. As a young man it was helpful, but now I'd like to be tired when I go to bed and alive in the morning.
At night I dream of ... I never retain dreams in any way. I get snippets of images. If I'm too hot I'll have a nightmare, and wake up panicking. Sometimes I can't move and I get frozen. But I never have a coherent idea of what happened.
What I see when I look in the mirror ... As an actor, I look a lot. But I'm looking at a character, which is easy to analyse and adjust. If I look at myself, I'm slightly surprised by what I have, as opposed to what I think I have.
My style icon ... Paul Weller, in the Eighties.
My favourite item of clothing ... is an old navy-blue Crombie overcoat. It suits me, fits me perfectly and keeps me warm; it's like that old coat that everyone talks about.
I wish I'd never worn ... a lime-green pullover. I don't know when it was ever right to wear a lime-green pullover.
It's not fashionable but I like ... Radio 2. Jonathan Ross on Saturday mornings, and Stuart Maconie and Mark Radcliffe in the evening.
You wouldn't know it but I'm not very good at ... being a car passenger, particularly if my wife is driving – though it's really nothing to do with her. I'm fine in the back, reading, but when I'm next to the driver, I become a bag of nerves.
You may not know it but I'm very good at ... keeping my mouth shut and not getting involved in things that aren't my business. It's a new thing for me and I like it.
All my money goes on ... home, the garden and my family. I tend to buy kitchen equipment and stuff for our vegetable garden, and I like to think that when I buy DVDs and CDs that they're for the house rather than me.
If I have time to myself ... I'm no good at down-time. I panic slightly and then plan a project or set up a meeting about starting a project.
I drive ... a BMW 5 series.
My house is ... a nice house in north London with a nice garden.
My most valuable possession is ... my photo albums. I'd be very upset if something happened to them. Now all my newer albums are on the computer. I constantly panic and back them up.
My favourite building ... is the National Theatre. Even though it's not that great from the outside, it's a wonderful and functional building on the inside.
Movie heaven ... The one I return to a lot is On the Waterfront. As a child, it sort of galvanised me. The first few notes of the soundtrack make my hairs stand on end. I played it to my son and he didn't get it. I was in tears.
A book that changed me ... The first Graham Greene book I read was A Gun for Sale, which made me read all his other stuff. He was a genius.
My favourite work of art ... Antony Gormley's statues in Liverpool. I love the way he works in the community, like with Angel of the North. The last album I bought/downloaded ... Duffy's album Rockferry. There are a lot of those types of singers around – in the absence of Amy Winehouse – but of them all, Duffy's my favourite.
The person who really makes me laugh ... My son got me into The Mighty Boosh. I just love that surrealist humour.
The shop I can't walk past ... Any shop, really. I'm a window shopper, particularly Merc on Carnaby Street, where you can get sharp suits, circa Jam, 1980, Ben Sherman button-down shirts and Fred Perry T-shirts.
The best invention ever ... The telephone is pretty great: it saves lives and builds communication.
In 10 years time, I hope to be ... living with Esther in a different city, although she likes the country. I'd love to be in New York at some point.
My greatest regret ... is not being closer to my father before he died, but there wasn't anything I could have done. It wasn't a choice on my part.
My life in seven words ... tall, northern, married, father, happy-go-lucky.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies