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It’s the season of goodwill to all men (and very probably all women too, otherwise the system must surely break down), and so it seems only fair to report that Damian Lewis has retracted his comments about not wanting to be one of those actors with “fruity voices” and a late-blooming career in a Harry Potter-style franchise.
I mean, sure, the retraction comes after having his ass handed to him on a Christmas platter by Sir Ian McKellen, who assumed the quote was aimed directly at him, but still, an apology is an apology and should not be sniffed at.
A contrite Damian has issued a statement saying “I am hugely embarrassed that comments of mine have been linked in a negative way to Sir Ian McKellen. I have always been, and continue to be, an enormous fan and admirer of Sir Ian’s.
“He’s one of the greats and one of the reasons I became an actor.”
And then he sort of undermines himself a bit, adding, “My comment in the Guardian was a soundbite I’ve been giving since 1999 – it was a generic analogy that was never intended to demean or describe anyone else’s career.”
Lest we forget, this often-repeated-but-not-damning soundbite is Damian’s wish that he doesn’t ever become “one of those slightly over-the-top, fruity actors who would have an illustrious career on stage, but wouldn’t start getting any kind of film work until I was 50 and then start playing wizards.”
Which isn’t UN-demeaning, and is fairly descriptive, but hey-ho.
In any case, he does find his feet again at the end, with a firm signoff: “I have contacted Sir Ian McKellen and have given him my sincerest apologies.”
Whether these have been accepted or not is another matter entirely.
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Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic