Richard E. Grant: What I've Learned

The British actor on growing older, being happy and buying shoes

Every boy of my generation wanted to be an astronaut when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, but as I failed maths and science, I would have pursued a writing career if I hadn't survived as an actor.

The best piece of advice I've ever been given? Never give up. No matter how many times you're told that you'll never succeed.

If I need to relax, I play tennis, swim, run, shop and have a good long yak.

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Every decade has felt markedly different and the nerve wrack of where the next acting job will come from has begun to ease, but remains the common denominator for every actor I know. Having worked with Sir John Gielgud when he was in his '90's, it struck me that so long as you remain curious about everything, every age can be a good one, health permitting!

I met my wife in 1983 and we began a conversation. It's been going on for 31 years, and we still sleep together in the same bed. That's how you maintain a happy relationship. She makes me happier than anything else.

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You can measure success by the number of friends who have remained loyal to you, and you to them.

Style advice? Follow your instinct, and find what suits you best. And always buy shoes that don't torture your feet.

My favourite book is Alice in Wonderland. It never ceases to entertain and delight – quintessentially, Britishly bonkers. 

Culture is important. Mozart's clarinet concerto has sustained me through every high and low of my life. And Nat King Cole crooning 'When I Fall Iin Love'. Lush.

Dirty Weekenders in France with Richard E Grant airs Sunday at 8pm on Channel 4.

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