Sir Ian McKellen: ‘What does old mean? Quite honestly I feel about 12’

It’s half a century since Sir Ian McKellen first played Hamlet.

Now he’s starring as the Dane again – at 82.

He talks about his extraordinary life, why he’ll never write his memoir – and his one lasting regretOh, birthdays,” Sir Ian McKellen growls, on the occasion of his 82nd.

“At my age I don’t do birthdays.” The wider world has not yet been informed, however, and cheerful cards have come in stacks to McKellen’s London townhouse.

Messages chime in on his computer and two landline phones ring on his desk, one after the other.

“But, darling,” McKellen says, answering a call and interrupting a well-wisher mid flow, “I’m trying to avoid it all this year.” Guilt, he explains to me, later.

He leads us through to a sitting room.

“Actors don’t need this special attention, I’ve realised.

We get cards and presents on first nights.

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