Bill Nighy has revealed the reason why he signed onto BBC spy thriller Page Eight – his loose-fitting costume.

The British actor, 61, was attracted to the role of veteran spy John Worricker in David Hare’s new film once he found out what he would be wearing.

“The days of me running around, jumping over things and shooting people are coming to an end. I got to wear a very nice lounge suit and a dark blue overcoat, which is kind of important to me,” he admitted at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“People have commented on the fact that there’s an absence of classical work on my CV, and that’s basically because – I used to joke about this, but it’s for real – I can’t operate in those kinds of trousers. And David knows me very well.”

Rachel Weisz co-stars as a neighbour with secrets of her own, while Michael Gambon plays Bill’s boss and mentor and Ralph Fiennes is the British Prime Minister in the BBC-produced film.

Bill – who was promoting the film alongside director David Hare – also praised the cast, especially Rachel, saying: “I should thank Rachel Weisz for making this movie with us. It was a coup that she should come and join us, and to bring her wit and intelligence and commitment to this made a great difference.”