Succession star Brian Cox reveals clothes hoarding habit

Actor tells how poverty and lack of clothes in early life formed a habit, and informed his socialism

Brian Cox, Golden Globe-winning star of HBO’s hit show Succession and the first Hannibal Lecter to make it to cinema screens, has spoken of how his clothes hoarding habit is a hangover from the poverty of his childhood in Dundee.

Appearing as Lauren Laverne’s guest on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs on Sunday morning, Cox, 73, reveals that he has more outfits than his wife, the actor Nicole Ansari. “I am a bit of a hoarder. I have a thing about clothes,” he tells Laverne, choosing a sewing kit as his luxury item for his imaginary island stay. “It is one of those things you are left with, an insecurity. It has to come out somewhere.”

Cox’s father died when he was eight years old and his mother suffered with severe mental illness in the following years. The poverty that marked out his life then, the actor admits, has also made him “cautious” with money in adult life: “I can be a bit parsimonious at times.”

His socialism, he says, is rooted in his experience as a boy: “When you know poverty you know what socialism is and that we have to look after our people.”

The star, who plays Succession’s multi-millionaire anti-hero Logan Roy, the figurehead of a fictional media empire, also reveals that he believes the nihilistic character has a dark appeal for many fans of the show, which was created by the British writer Jesse Armstrong. “People tell me they love the naked ambition of someone like Logan and they think they love to hate him, but actually they love to love him too. It is complex.”

Media mogul Roy is not based directly on Conrad Black or Rupert Murdoch, as many have suggested, Cox says. “But Logan and I both have one thing in common; we find the human experiment rather disappointing. I flirt with misanthropy all the time, but I am an optimist, so I always come down on the good side.”

Choosing tracks by Jacques Brel, Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash, the actor, who played Lecter in the 1986 Michael Mann film Manhunter, based on Thomas Harris’ book Red Dragon, also talks about his distrust of Hollywood. As a boyhood cinema fan he wanted to work in film, but came to love theatre after performing a season at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the late 1980s, during which he gave an acclaimed performance as Titus Andronicus. “You can’t take any of it seriously in Hollywood, and you shouldn’t,” Cox says.

Contributor

Vanessa Thorpe

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Jeremy Deller to premiere new work on Desert Island Discs
New steel band version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah will be one of his eight picks

Vanessa Thorpe Arts and media correspondent

06, Jan, 2019 @12:01 AM

Article image
Kirsty Young to take Desert Island Discs break because of illness
Lauren Laverne will cover BBC Radio 4 show while host is away due to fibromyalgia

Nadia Khomami

30, Aug, 2018 @10:51 AM

Article image
​Anne-Marie Duff talks divorce, love and loss on Desert Island Discs
The actor spoke about the end of her marriage to James McAvoy on the BBC Radio 4 show

Vanessa Thorpe Observer arts and media correspondent

25, Mar, 2018 @12:01 AM

Article image
Miranda Sawyer: the best radio of 2015
The year podcasts went mainstream, the Archers went doolally and Radio 5 Live headed downhill fast

Miranda Sawyer

13, Dec, 2015 @9:30 AM

Article image
A bit more Fry and Laurie would be great, says House star
Hugh Laurie would love to team up again with former comedy partner Stephen Fry, but worries they are too old for satire

Vanessa Thorpe, arts and media correspondent

22, Jun, 2013 @11:04 PM

Article image
Tom Daley discusses fatherhood on Lauren Laverne's first Desert Island Discs
Diver tells host becoming a father has given him a new emotional distance from sport

Vanessa Thorpe Arts and media correspondent

29, Sep, 2018 @11:01 PM

Article image
Desert Island Discs: 75 defining moments from 75 years of castaways
The show’s first guest was marooned three quarters of a century ago this month. Here are the moments that made Desert Island Discs a radio classic

Stephen Moss

06, Jan, 2017 @3:56 PM

Article image
Lauren Laverne raises eyebrows with Radio 4's Late Night Woman’s Hour
Night-time version of BBC show offers the chance for in-depth discussion – although some of the language has surprised even the presenter

Alasdair Glennie

21, Aug, 2015 @6:11 PM

Article image
Fans defend Laverne as Desert Island host
Listeners and famous names react on social media after criticism of ‘lightweight’ presenter of BBC’s Desert Island Discs

Vanessa Thorpe Arts and media correspondent

10, Aug, 2019 @4:30 PM

Article image
Keeping mum: Hugh Bonneville reveals his mother worked at MI6
Downton Abbey actor tells Desert Island Discs his mother never discussed her work and he only made the connection years later

Peter Walker

28, Feb, 2016 @11:14 AM