Josh O’Connor is the best of British; the awards season said so. This year alone, the young actor was nominated for a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a Primetime Emmy — so far scooping up eight major gongs for his role as Prince Charles in Netflix’s stiff-upper-lipped streaming megahit, The Crown.
But what else does he love about Britain? Despite admitting he has ‘very little interest’ in the real royal family, O’Connor’s adoration for our green and pleasant land stretches far and wide. From footballing on the South coast to camping in Scotland, we asked the actor for his favourite things about Britain — and he didn’t disappoint…
#1 Southampton Football Club (and Manchester United)
“I’ve been a Southampton fan since I was small,” says O’Connor. “My family are from there and it was just a decision that was made for me, really. I have great memories of Southampton in the FA Cup Final against Arsenal in 2003. It was a couple of days before my birthday so I invited a few friends over to watch it with me — we lost but it was still quite a spectacle.
“Although,” he adds, “the truth is, anyone that knows me also knows I have a huge soft spot for Manchester United. My older brother has supported them his whole life and perhaps, because of that, I follow them very closely and watch almost all of their games.”
#2 The West Coast of Scotland
“My favourite place in Britain?” the actor asks. “Probably Scotland, the West coast specifically. I love camping and hiking. And, although I don’t often have the chance to do it, when I do I try to go there.”
#3 Aston Martin
“Of course I have a soft spot for Aston Martin!” says O’Connor, who stars in a new Luca Guadagnino-directed film for the British carmaker. “They are the embodiment of Britishness in their design, manufacturing and craftsmanship.
“I first got behind the wheel whilst filming The Crown,” he adds, “and I’ve been lucky enough to work closely with the company since. Last summer, Marek Reichman, Head of Design, invited me to visit Aston Martin in Gaydon. It was one of the most extraordinary operations and such an honour to see their process in action. I’m excited to see the upcoming regenerations of their cars and even more excited to see how they develop their electric cars going forward.”
#4 Laphroaig Whisky
“Linked with my love for the Scottish landscape is my love of whiskey,” says the actor. “My favourite is Laphroaig and, just after the Golden Globes back in spring, they kindly sent me an extraordinarily rare bottle which I had a tipple of with a few friends just before I made the trip over to New York. It’s completely delicious.”
#5 Pete Postlethwaite
“I have so many favourite British actors,” considers O’Connor. “But I always go back and watch Pete Postlethwaite. He was something of an idol of mine growing up — his performances were always intense, full of vulnerability.
“Nowadays I’m inspired by so many British actors, from Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley to Tobias Menzies and Daniel Day-Lewis, we have a hell of a lot of talent out there!”
#6 Bubble & Squeak
“Favourite British food? Bubble and Squeak, without question. My grandmother used to make it for me on my way back from school. I’d pop round her house and in exchange for the odd job in the garden — weeding normally — and she’d cook Bubble and Squeak.
“In case you don’t know what it is,” he explains, “it’s essentially a meal made from scraps and leftovers. Normally cabbage, potato, onions, bacon (if you eat it) and anything else you can get your hands on, fried up in a pan with a load of salt and butter. It’s delicious.”
#7 Morris Dancing
“I love our history of folk tradition,” reveals O’Connor, “and Morris dancing is probably the most famous of them. I’ve never actually seen a group before, but I’d love to…”
#8 Lucie Rie
“Choosing a favourite British artist is another tricky one,” says the actor. “I’m a big ceramics fan — my grandmother was a ceramicist, so I grew up around her studio admiring the detail and the versatility of her handiwork.
“Lucie Rie — pronounced to rhyme with ‘glee’ — was a sensational studio potter and made many sensational works during her time. A great friend of mine, Jonathan Anderson, recently gifted me my first Lucie Rie vessel and it sits, pride of place, in my home in London.”
Want more Best of British? Here, Sir Paul Smith reveals his favourite things about Britain…
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