American writers reduce the length of time devoted to exposition and character development.
The Almeida's artistic director, Rupert Goold, brought me Mike Bartlett's 'King Charles III' with the slightly apologetic warning that it was in blank verse, but, of course, that appealed to me.
I love Stevie Wonder for his sense of rapture in the music. He can swing through a zappy tune, lift your heart, or drift into a sad ballad with consummate ease.
People are fed up with broadcasters pushing the boundaries too far.
I seem to get cast as one of two extremes. Either I play the butch heavy or totally nice guys.
Villains are always the best roles, but that meant that for months afterwards, all I got offered were absolute cads and bounders and really nasty pieces of work, as well as a lot of people who only had one arm. Such is the limited imaginative power, you see, of a great many casting directors.
In television, I was first cast as a cavalry officer because of my name.
What makes Biarritz special, as far as I'm concerned, are the fantastic coastline, the beaches - such as the Cotes des Basques - and the sea.
You had to be there at the time to understand the wild creative energy of the Fab Four, and this contains forays into Indian music as well as classics such as 'When I'm Sixty-Four.'
My parents were fantastic. I was an only child, so I had a lot of love and too much attention. I don't think I was spoilt. My mother was quite a disciplinarian, but I did have a lot of attention and quite a lot of pressure to do well at whatever I was doing.
I always remember to go on the Staten Island Ferry because it's the most amazing view of New York. And it's free! You see Ellis Island, and it conjures up something of that great moment: you know, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. It's staggering.
My wife is a fantastic traveller. She's good fun and very optimistic. Even if things get bad, she's good at seeing the light side.
I'm not a big fan of the Mediterranean, but being in the Bay of Biscay, the sea is forever changing, and on a clear day, you see as far as Spain. It's incomparable.
For sheer excitement, a weekend in New York is unbeatable. Arrive on Friday morning, leave on Monday night, and don't worry about jet lag - just buzz for four days.
I like songs to mean something as well as sound good, and Paul Simon is a maestro. While Art Garfunkel was a voice and moved on to other things Simon remained the genius lyricist and composer.
The worst nickname I ever had was Tim Pig-ears-Smith. I had big ears. When I was younger, it was more pronounced. So I felt huge sympathy towards Prince Charles over that.
I have only met Prince Charles once, when he was very charming and easy to chat to. I have always had a soft spot for him, and I admire our constitutional monarchy, but Charles often comes across as eccentric, and he has a mixed press.
Everybody wants a movie career. I found that pretty elusive. I did make a movie with Martin Sheen about a nuclear scientist who has a religious experience. I don't even know what it was called. I don't think it was ever released.
Of course there is a danger of typecasting, and since 'Jewel in the Crown' appeared, I have had countless offers to play sadistic policemen and middle-class misfits.
When 'Jewel' was screened, old friends from school and university got back in touch. More than one of them told me that their partners hated Merrick so much they could not think of having me in the house. This kind of audience identification does not happen in any other medium.