The Office co-writer agreed to play lead character Ted in The Mentalists during its run in the West End, but as he gears up to take over the role next month (Jul15), Merchant is refusing to peel off his clothes for a nude scene.

He tells U.K. talk show host Graham Norton, "I'm an actor now and that means I just check how many lines I have to say! I agreed to do it and then someone tweeted me to say, 'I've read the play, are you going to be doing the nudity?' And apparently I am meant to be naked, but I won't be doing that. I don't care how classy a theatregoer you are, if someone is naked on stage people will not be listening to the lines! I'm not sure it's called for. I don't even like being naked at home!"