'Thank You Very Much': Sir Kenneth Branagh Reveals Why He Is Ready to Graciously Accept His Knighthood

The Daily Mail, 23 June 2012

By Liz Thomas
* Thanks Kate

Sir Kenneth Branagh has revealed age and experience are behind his decisions to embrace his Knighthood after declining his OBE [sic]. The actor declined the honour in 1994 when he was in his mid-thirties.

This week the 51-year-old was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, and he admitted he now felt it would be churlish to turn down one of the highest accolades in British society.

He said: ‘I was genuinely shocked when I got it.

'At this stage in my life, my practise is, if people are kind enough to acknowledge what you do it seems polite to say, “Thank you very much”. The business I am in, we are very lucky. At the end of every stage performance the audience all applaud me for doing my job, but I have friends who work in offices who don’t get that.

Sir Kenneth added that he had been sworn to secrecy and had only told his wife, Lindsay, and admitted he even worried his response had got lost in the post.

He is not the first actor to tell of his softening towards the Monarch – Dame Helen Mirren also confessed that her attitude had changed over the decades and she was no longer an anti-royalist.

The star also revealed that he will quit the BBC’s hugely detective drama Wallander in 2013.

The latest trilogy, adapted from acclaimed writer Henning Mankell’s stories 'An Event In the Autumn', 'Dogs of Riga', and 'Before the Frost', will air next month. But Sir Kenneth confessed that he will only make one further series before quitting as troubled detective Kurt Wallander. The news will be a blow to fans of the Swedish police drama, which regularly pulls in an audience of more than seven million. Mankell’s [sic] has written ten Wallander novels, which have sold more than 35 million worldwide.

He said: 'I think there is maybe one more series of three films to be done. I'd like to make a (final) trilogy. The tenth book has just been written, which takes us to a very significant dark place in Wallander’s life. It is called The Troubled Man and there is one other book we haven’t done called the White Lioness, which is partly set in South Africa.’ The Troubled Man will be adapted across two episodes, while White Lioness

Sir Kenneth said: ‘Those books are likely to make a trio. That would be the end of it for us because it brings us to an end. I'd like to film in the next year and to broadcast next year.’ ‘It brings back Wallander to his relationship with his family which is where it all started.’

The news comes just weeks after Laurence Fox confirmed that Inspector Morse spin-off Lewis is also coming to an end next year, after seven series. Fox said: ‘Kev [Whately] and I have decided we want to do other things, otherwise it all gets a bit samey. I mean we could have gone on forever.

Lewis has been broadcast on ITV1 since 2006. With a total of 27 episodes, it has almost rivalled its famous predecessor – which ended in 2000 after 33 episodes – for longevity. The Oxford-based crime drama stars sees Kevin Whately, 61, reprise his role as Robbie Lewis, formerly Morse’s sidekick. Now promoted from sergeant to inspector, he has been given his own assistant Detective Sergeant James Hathaway, played by Fox, 34.

Sir Kenneth admitted that the first film in this year’s series – 'An Event in the Autumn' – is one of the darkest yet.

He explained: ‘It is true (this one is darker). When I read this one, even though I have read all 10 novels, it has a darker atmosphere. But the darker they get the more people seem to like them. I don't know whether people look at it and think - my life will never get that bad.

‘When I read it I said to the producer, ‘this is the bleakest thing I have ever read.’ I did say "do you think we can show it on a Sunday night at 9pm"?’

But he said author Mankell had told him that his real life research into crimes committed yielded far worse cases than anything he had every written.

Back to Articles Listing | Back to the Compendium