It’s a measure of a great actor that the characters they play are so convincing, it’s easy to think that’s what they’re like in real life. Timothy Spall found fame as dim builder Barry in 80s comedy drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. But before that, he’d been in the National Youth Theatre, trained at Rada, worked for the RSC and starred in his first Mike Leigh film, Home Sweet Home.
Obviously he can’t turn into a rat like he can in Harry Potter, but neither is he from from Birmingham, which will confuse fans of Red Dwarf (where he infamously invents the word “twonk”).
Instead, Spall grew up in south-west London in a house with no indoor toilet or heating, and inadvertently went to college with the Sex Pistols.
At college, Spall excelled at art, a passion that – after playing both Turner in 2014’s Mr Turner and LS Lowry in 2019’s Mrs Lowry & Son – he recently rekindled by holding a show of his own last year in Salford.
Now the Sweeney Todd and King’s Speech actor is back in thriller It Snows in Benidorm, where a notably thinner-than-you’ll-remember-him Spall (last time we printed a photo, one reader thought we’d accidentally printed a picture of Tim Roth!) takes early retirement and decides to visit what turns out to be his missing brother in Benidorm. And to encourage you to go to the cinema to see it, he’ll be taking your questions on his life and career and in general.
So, language, Timothy! Post your questions in the comments below by 6pm on Monday 29 August, and we’ll print his answers in Film & Music and run them online on 9 September. Spall was also once in a rubbish David Bowie tribute act, and also claims to makes the most bizarre cup of tea in the world: one bag Yorkshire, one bag Earl Grey, so someone needs to pull him up on that.
• It Snows in Benidorm is released in the UK on 2 September.