Actor talks about being juror number eight and why he always travels with his own pillow.

Q: So here you are again as Juror number 8, six months after your successful West End run – what was it about reprising your role for a UK tour that appealed to you?

“It’s good fun to do this play and I thought it would be fun doing it around the country. People outside of London really like to come to the theatre. In London you kind of have to drag them kicking and screaming into town because for lots of people, it’s such a difficult event coming into town.

“Outside of London they gladly go to the theatre and they like to. And it’s nice to take a play which you know they will enjoy.”

Q: How are rehearsals going?

“It’s not all that long ago I was in it in the West End, only six months since we did it, so it was pretty much still embedded. It’s strange, but plays do stay in your mind for a long time.

“If you were asked to say a line from one you probably wouldn’t be able to, but as soon as you get with a bunch of actors and you all start doing it, it’s all lodged in there, you just have to find the route and what drawer it’s in, as it were, in your mind.

“And it’s there almost intact. You need to brush up on little bits here and there, but on the whole, it’s still there.”

Q: For those that are not familiar with the play, tell us about the premise and your role?

“It’s very simple, but I don’t want to give anything away.

“A boy has been on trial for murder, a 16-year-old boy accused of murdering his father and this bunch, a motely lots really, the jurors, most of them don’t really want to spend any time doing this, and they’re happy to vote guilty and send the boy to his death.

“And in those days, electrocution was the punishment, the end of life, if you’d killed somebody, and still is in many parts of America, unfortunately.

“So they know they’re going to send him to certain death, but they’re not prepared to actually take time to discuss the possibilities of the case, except for one man who is worried about it and he votes ‘not guilty’ against all the ‘guilty’ votes so it’s 11-1. And so he starts to try to persuade them to think a bit more deeply – and that’s the play.”

Q: Have you ever done jury service?

“No, have never been summoned. A friend of mine that has done it told me they found the jurors all took the case very seriously and behaved pretty responsibly.

“But that’s not always the case. In fact, it’s been written by a juror – without mentioning the case of course – how appalled they were about the poverty of the deliberations by the other jurors.

“And you’re putting a life into your hands and you’ve got to be very careful. To send a man to jail for a year, a year in prison is a long, long time.”

Q: It was a sold-out smash in the West End and had its run extended twice – will it be as successful on the road, especially with you leading the cast?

“I think it’ll be even more successful on tour because it’s the kind of play people really want to see. It’s a good cast and for some reason, people like to come and see me in plays on tour.

“This used to be the way it was too. A play would run in London and then if it was successful, it would tour so people around the country were seeing a successful West End play.

“Then that changed and tours are played now before going into the West End because it helps the capitalisation of the West End production, which is phenomenally expensive.

“But this time it’s gone back to the old formula of doing the play, making it a hit in the West End and then taking the hit around the rest of the country. And people know they’re going to see a tried and tested piece.”

Q: You’re on the road until May with this tour – what’s the most important thing about touring for you?

“The one vital thing is to travel with your own pillow. It’s the most important thing. The hotel ones are usually filled with I don’t know what, so take your own pillow.”

Twelve Angry Men is at Theatre Royal Windsor from Tuesday, January 27 till February 7. Visit