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Lewis dried up in school production


Homeland star Damian Lewis with his OBE

Homeland star Damian Lewis with his OBE

Homeland star Damian Lewis with his OBE

Homeland star Damian Lewis has disclosed his acting career was nearly over before it began when he forget his lines during a school production.

The actor, who was recently made an OBE, is set to play King Henry VIII in the BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Tudor-era novels.

Appearing on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, he told host Kirsty Young that being on stage felt "instinctive", but admitted it had not always been the case and aged 11 he had forgotten the whole third act of Gilbert and Sullivan's Princess Ida.

He said: "It's like an actor's nightmare that actors have before they're getting ready for press night but it happened to me in real life. I stood on a stage in front of the entire school with Mrs Woodgates playing the piano from the side and singing at least one song for me and saying quite a lot of my dialogue as well.

"I was stood there mouthing it on the stage like I might just fool them if I just keep moving my lips. The headmaster said it was the worst dress rehearsal in his history of being at the school".

Eton-educated Damian made his name playing Major Richard Winters in the Second World War epic Band Of Brothers, before cementing his star status in the role of returned prisoner of war Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody in Homeland.

The red-head told Young he would need "some Aloe vera oil-based lotion" to protect his pale skin from the Desert Island sun, but chose to take a whittling kit as his luxury item.

Among his chosen tracks were Crystal Clear by electronic dance act The Grid, Baggy Trousers by Madness and Bix Beiderbecke's Goose Pimples.