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Quickfire: actor James Nesbitt on being starstruck in the presence of his idol  

Actor James Nesbitt on football fantasies, sleeping soundly and serenading his sweetheart.  

‘Philosophy? Be nice to people and they’ll be nice to you.’

Guilty pleasure? I suck my thumb constantly and have done since childhood. It helps me to switch off.

Where is home? A Victorian terraced house in Peckham, Southeast London. I’ve lived in London since 1985, but still consider Northern Ireland as home.

Career plan B? Probably a teacher, like my father and three elder sisters.

Who would play you in a movie of your life? I always describe myself as ‘the drinking woman’s George Clooney’, so it would have to be him.

As a child you wanted to be… Manchester United’s greatest ever centre-forward.

Secret to a happy relationship? Humour.

Your best quality? I’m a great sleeper.

And your worst? Not being able to say no.

Most romantic thing you’ve ever done? Serenade my now ex-wife outside her window one night when we first met. It turned out she was fast asleep and didn’t hear me.

Last meal on earth? Potatoes, mince and beans.

Dream dinner-party guests? My granddad Smyth, Sir Alex Ferguson, George Best, James Joyce and Joan of Arc.

Advice to teenage self? Think before you act.

Cat or dog? I have a schnoodle, Bobby.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? An old man who still feels 17 inside.

On a day off we’d find you… Playing golf in Portrush or spending time with my daughters, Peggy and Mary. 

Starstruck moment? Meeting George Best. I was so nervous, but he said, ‘Hi, Jimmy, good to meet you, my wife and I are big fans.’ It was an amazing moment.

Big break? Playing the Artful Dodger in a professional production of Oliver! at the Riverside Theatre, Coleraine, when I was 13.

Career highlight? Appearing in the 2002 film Bloody Sunday, directed by Paul Greengrass.

Favourite tipple? A good claret.

Hangover cure? More claret.

What did you have for breakfast today? Smoked salmon, spinach and scrambled eggs.

Top of your bucket list? To drive along the Big Sur on the California coast in my Audi RS6, which is my greatest luxury.

Secret skill? I can play the Match of the Day theme tune on a recorder.

One thing that would make your life better? A personal assistant.

Philosophy? Be nice to people and they’ll be nice to you.

Biggest lesson you have learnt about money? The more you give it away, the more reward you get from it.

Biggest lesson you have learnt about women? Listen to them.

Last film that made you cry? Lady Bird with Saoirse Ronan, who I think is brilliant.

Where would you time-travel to? A Northern Ireland international soccer match in 1967 when George Best reportedly took Scotland apart single-handedly.

First record you bought? ‘Don’t Give Up on Us’ by David Soul.

Most extravagant expenditure? I sponsor a golfer, Holly Clyburn.

Best present you’ve ever received? Silver cufflinks with my initials on them – I’m not saying who they were from.

Celebrity crush? It used to be Sue Lawley, then Zeinab Badawi.

Happiness is… The sound of your children laughing.

James returns as DI Harry Clayton in Lucky Man on Sky 1, Fridays at 9pm. James is an ambassador for Audi UK