London Spy’s Jim Broadbent: ‘I’m not as hungry to act all the time as I used to be’

As one of Britain’s greatest actors, Oscar winner Jim Broadbent has his choice of TV and film roles. But Jim told What’s On TV that he’s become more picky as he gets older and will only agree to take on parts that really appeal to him.

“I’m still passionate about acting, but not quite as hungry to do it all the time as I used to be. I leave gaps when nothing comes through that particularly appeals to me. So I’m not quite as needy or obsessive about it. My career sort of takes care of itself now, so I can relax and do things when I want to do them!”

Luckily the role of alcoholic gay civil servant Scottie in new espionage thriller London Spy was far too good for Jim to turn down..

“London Spy isn’t like anything I’ve seen before,” said Jim of the five-part drama which premieres tonight on BBC2. “It just has a lot of tension, a whodunit element, and it’s a cracking narrative.”

Scottie gets drawn into helping his young friend Danny Holt (Spectre’s Ben Whishaw) search for the truth behind the murder of Danny’s mysterious lover Alex.

“I like the fact that Scottie’s an interesting, complex and sympathetic character. He’s got his own issues and problems – it turns out that in his youth he joined the secret service as a spy, but was ousted because he was gay and that made him vulnerable to blackmail. His career was stymied and he never found a life partner. I’ve played some extremely camp characters before who I suppose were gay, but it was never spelt out. There’s probably more gay characters of Scottie’s age portrayed nowadays, but this isn’t a gay story as such, it’s about people in a severe predicament who happen to be gay.

“Scottie has a very strong friendship with Danny, although there’s a bit of unrequited love! Scottie’s supported Danny over the years, so when Danny gets into trouble he turns to Scottie for help. Their relationship is very much tied in with Danny’s search for the truth.”

London Spy premieres tonight on BBC2 at 9pm

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