Sir Ian McKellen has announced that he is to officiate at fellow actor Patrick Stewart’s wedding, and said that he has officiated at civil partnership ceremonies before.
Speaking on ITV’s the Jonathan Ross Show, of working together with Patrick Stewart on the upcoming X-Men film, Sir Ian said: “I’m going to marry Patrick. I am going to officiate at his wedding.”
When asked how he is legally allowed to officiate the ceremony he responded: “I don’t know, but in Massachusetts, in the middle of America somewhere, you get a friend along, and I read out the words, and Sunny [Ozell] and Patrick will then be married.
“I’ve done it once before with two guys having a civil partnership. I was crying my eyes out,” he continued.
He asked: “What do you wear when you officiate at a wedding?”, saying that the last time, he wore “a white gown which I bought in India. You mustn’t upstage the bride.”
During the show, the veteran actor and gay rights campaigner joked with Dr Who star Matt Smith, asking him: “Can I see you again?”, before: “Because you know, he’s not got a girlfriend…”
Talking about his upcoming TV show, Vicious Old Queens, in which he performs alongside Sir Derek Jacobi and Frances de la Tour, he said he received the script, read the title and responded: “I’m not old”.
He reflected on the fact that he and Sir Derek had never performed together since university, saying “this is the first time for over fifty years”.
When asked about his love life during his university years, Sir Ian said: “Well Derek was gorgeous”, describing his quiff, and his “tight trousers”.
He said: “This was the 1950s, and if you were gay, you didn’t dare risk telling anybody else you were , in case you got reported to the police and put in prison, frankly.”
“Derek was clearly gay, but happened just not to fancy me,” he continued, joking that he “got by”, responding to sympathy from the audience.
Responding to a question from Ross, Sir Ian said that for him the 1950s underground gay scene was not particularly exciting.
He also said that he used to refer to himself as “queer”, and spoke about being gay “behind closed doors”, and the difficulty of pretending to be straight for “life”.
In 1996, Derek Jacobi played Alan Turing in Breaking the Code. In November 2011, Channel 4 broadcast a docu-drama about the gay codebreaker.