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‘I’m Limerick’s Basil Fawlty’ - Dominic West talks to Louise Flind

Blog | By Louise Flind | Jul 05, 2022


Dominic West, playing Prince Charles in The Crown, is filming on Aristotle Onassis’s yacht. But his heart lies in Ireland. By Louise Flind

Is there anything you can’t leave home without?

Returning twice for things I’ve forgotten: keys, phone etc. I need to practise the old Russian custom of sitting silently before leaving the house, to avoid a chaotic departure.

Is there something you really miss?

The kids, the garden, the check-in deadline.

Do you travel light?

Yes. I try to take about half of what I think I need.

What’s your favourite destination?

Glin Castle, Limerick, Ireland [the family home of his wife, Catherine FitzGerald]. It has turf fires, Irish breakfasts and the best pub in Ireland at the gate.

How are you finding running Glin?

I’m the Basil Fawlty of County Limerick.

Your earliest childhood holiday memories?

Watching a suckling pig roast on a spit in Spain.

What aspects of Prince Charles’s voice and mannerisms are you concentrating on in The Crown?

All of them.

Where’s it filmed and which houses are standing in for which royal palaces?

We’re currently filming on Aristotle Onassis’s old yacht, the Christina O, in Mallorca. Very nice.

Do you want to play James Bond? How would you play him?

I’m too long in the tooth for Bond. But I’d love to play a villain.

How did you get on with Michael K Williams in The Wire?

He was a deeply sympathetic, wonderful man who helped a lot of people.

Is it right that your most enjoyable job ever was in a circus in South America?

It was a South American circus, but in Camden.

And your favourite place in the West Country, where you now live?

I’ve got a little patch of woodland at home which we’re replanting, and I’m digging a pond.

What’s your favourite place in Sheffield, where you’re from? Do you think of yourself as a Yorkshireman?

The Crucible Theatre and the Fat Cat pub in Kelham Island. A white rose blooms in my heart.

What’s the most exotic location you’ve filmed in?

I walked to the South Pole ten years ago with three teams of wounded soldiers. We filmed our arrival at the pole, led by two of the bravest: one blind, the other a double amputee.

And the least exotic?

The autopsy room in the basement of the coroner’s office in Baltimore. We filmed The Wire there quite regularly and always at night, with body parts in jars and tagged corpses in the fridge.

Who are you playing in the Downton Abbey film?

A silent-movie star.

Are you a traveller?

Yes. I started with a hitchhike across Eastern Europe the year the Berlin Wall came down, in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

EasyJet to Mallorca.

Do you like being away from home?

I love it, but not for long without the family.

Do you go on holiday?

As often as we can.

Do you lie on the beach?

Constantly.

Do you have a daily routine even when you’re away?

I can’t seem to get a daily routine anywhere.

Do you stay in a hotel or an apartment?

Or in a house, on a boat, in an RV, a tent or a hammock or, best of all, under the stars.

What’s your favourite food?

Roasted hazelnuts.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

An armadillo. In Argentina. Roasted in its shell.

Do you tend to have a go at the local language?

Si.

What’s your biggest headache when you’re travelling?

The M6.

What is the strangest place you’ve ever slept in while being away?

I had a strange night near Delhi with some sadhus at the top of a temple dedicated to the goddess Kali. She had a terrifying shrine where they sacrificed goats.

Do you like coming home?

The overgrown garden, the pile of post, the tidy house and familiar bed – I love it.

What are your top travelling tips?

If the government advises against it, it’s probably a good idea.