Tea Time Tidbits
Vicious' Ian McKellen
Week of July 14, 2014

I think we'll have to rename Sundays "Derek Jacobi Night" for the actor now appears in two shows that air on Sunday evenings on MPT. Last Tango in Halifax at 8pm and Vicious at 10:30pm.

Ian McKellen
Sir Ian McKellen in Vicious.

Ian McKellen, who stars as Freddie in our new Sunday night British comedy Vicious, may not be married to his on-screen partner Stuart, played by Derek Jacobi, but in real-life McKellen took time out of his busy schedule to "marry" his best friend, actor Patrick Stewart. Or to be more precise, to officiate at Stewart's wedding to his girlfriend of eight years; singer-songwriter Sunny Ozell.

The wedding, which took place at Lake Tahoe, was meant to have been a secret, but 74 year-old McKellen let the cat out of the bag six months before the big day, when he was being interviewed by British talk show host Jonathan Ross.

Ian McKellen
Officiating at Patrick Stewart's wedding.

"I am going to marry Patrick," McKellen announced, which he clarified by explaining "I'm officiating at his wedding". The announcement prompted the then 73 year-old Stewart to officially announce his engagement to 35 year-old Ozell.

McKellen and Stewart first met in the 1970s when they were both performing for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Both had completely different backgrounds: McKellen was University educated, while Stewart had left school at the age of 15. They were also from supposedly warring counties, Lancashire (McKellen) and Yorkshire (Stewart). The impossible friendship, however, blossomed when they were both cast in the Hollywood film X Men. Stewart put it down to the fact that they spent more time in their comfortable trailers than on the set and got to hang out and get to know each other.

Both also didn't make it internationally for a relatively long time; Stewart was in his late forties when he played Captain Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation which ran for seven seasons. McKellen was in his 60s when he played Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Ian McKellen
Sir Ian McKellen and a 10 year old Daniel Radcliffe in David Copperfield.

McKellen and Stewart have managed to combine both screen and stage careers, and the pair of them recently wrapped up an extended run on Broadway of two plays they performed in together in repertory; Waiting for Godot and No Man's Land. The plays were being shown at the Cort Theatre and were followed up with The Cripple of Inishman, starring Daniel Radcliffe and June Watson who plays Mary in The Café.

McKellen had spent a day working with Radcliffe when Radcliffe was just ten and appearing in his first film, David Copperfield, which you may recall was a Masterpiece series. After leaving his dressing room at the Cort, for what would be the last time, McKellen kindly left Radcliffe a note of welcome. Sometimes it seems as though British actors are all part of one big happy family.

You can see McKellen and Jacobi on Sunday nights on MPT at 10:30pm in Vicious.

To contact Heather:
E-mail: heather@mpt.org
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117

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