This was quite possibly the nearest I ever came to being typecast as an actor. My late father was an excellent sportsman and had he been born into another era might easily have become a professional footballer; my brother too was very skilled at sport; however, when it came to me, oh dear! At secondary school on the end of term report my games teacher Robert Evans once wrote, "Impossible to comment on this boy!" I think this suggests that whenever there was a games or PE lesson, I'd generally absented myself with a (often forged) sick note! Today, in the most enlightened schools I think I would have been diagnosed as dyspraxic rather than labelled 'hopeless' or 'useless'. When I trained to become an actor at RADA the dance and movement teachers clearly thought I was either messing about or plain not trying. Surely, nobody could be that badly coordinated?
So perhaps you can understand how I don't naturally enjoy a warm glow when I think about sport. In fact, when I think of my schooldays, it's quite the opposite. Those humiliating team-picking moments in the changing rooms, when you pray you'll be picked before it gets down to the very last boy (usually not the case!).
This summer Britain has been the world's focus for sporting activity. First the Olympics, then the Paralympics, and I must say I really enjoyed every single bit I watched. It really is wonderful to see great athletes perform and an unusual experience for us Brits to see our team winning so many medals. A great boost I think to our national pride - quite welcome in light of the gloomy economic forecasts that predict some austere times may be lurking just ahead. The Olympics and Paralympics seem, too, to have helped us embrace our racial diversity and to applaud excellence in human achievement, even when it does not live up to the ideal embodiment of physical perfection. Thanks to all the athletes from all nations who took part in both the Olympics and Paralympics. Your contribution was truly awesome! I think Lord Coe and his team did a fantastic job organising it all! Incidentally, what honour can you confer on someone who's already a Lord, is there anything higher? Perhaps the Queen will consider adopting him?
And not content with a gold medal, good old Andy Murray bagged the US Open yesterday! After 76 years since the last time anyone from these islands won it, our national pride must be in serious danger of spontaneously combusting! Very, very well done that man!