Sir Ian McKellen is to become a bus tour guide – not for a new film, but in real life, as he is set to boost public tours of London locations seen in the film in which he portrayed Richard III more than two decades ago.

The 76 year old actor, a legend of both screen and stage, has agreed to host the guided tours as part of the British Film Institute’s Shakespeare film season, for which he is the ambassador.

Set in an alternative fascist version of 1930s England, McKellen portrayed the English king in the 1995 film Richard III, directed by Richard Loncraine. Speaking to reporters at the BFI on Monday (January 25th), he said that he always thought a bus tour of the locations seen in the movie “might be fun” and was pleased that he had the opportunity to realise it.

Sir Ian McKellenSir Ian McKellen at the BFI on Monday (January 25th)

“I've always thought it might be fun to take a bus tour around the sites of Richard III,” he said. “You would watch snippets of the film sitting in the coach and then arrive at the actual location and see it.”

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Lucky punters who are able to get hold of tickets will be taken to places like Battersea Power Station, St. Pancras railway station and the building that is now the Tate Modern art gallery, all as McKellen takes the microphone and imparts his wealth of Shakespeare knowledge.

Details regarding ticket sales are still being finalised. The BFI’s head curator Robin Baker, overseeing this project and a wider ambition to make over 70 Shakespeare movies digitised and available to people in 100 countries around the world, said it was “definitely a first… …I suspect it will be the most oversubscribed event ever. But lucky, lucky people who will get to do it.”

When asked if Sir Ian had needed much persuasion to agree to being a tour guide, Baker quipped “He's quite keen! There wasn't much coercion going on.”

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