Arts Q&A: Belfast actor Packy Lee on Coldplay, Owen McCafferty and boxing

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Peaky Blinders actor Packy Lee

Belfast actor Packy Lee will return as Johnny Dogs in a fifth series of Peaky Blinders in 2018
Belfast actor Packy Lee will return as Johnny Dogs in a fifth series of Peaky Blinders in 2018

1. When did you think about a career in acting and what were your first steps into it?

One evening football was cancelled at youth club in west Belfast and I decided to go to drama there instead. They were doing a production of Bugsy Malone and I was hooked. I couldn't afford drama school and my family wanted me to have a 'proper' career, so I trained and worked as a chef for seven years, while getting acting roles at Belfast's Lyric Theatre and London's National Theatre.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to?

Coldplay at Belfast's then Odyssey Arena in December 2005. I was starring in Shot the Crow in the West End and met Coldplay's manager after a performance – he invited me to come see the band play in Belfast. It was an unexpected and amazing gig. It's a funny world, as now Annabelle Wallace who plays Grace with me in Peaky Blinders is Coldplay frontman Chris Martin's partner.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

My own wedding was fantastic with The Untouchables at Belfast's Welly Park.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island?

Van Morrison's Astral Weeks.

5. And the book?

The Hobbit. It's one of the first novels I read as a child at school and it has stuck with me.

6. Top three films?

Raging Bull, The Big Lebowski and Casino.

7. Worst film you’ve seen and why?

None. Every film has it's own unique style and if it's made it to the screen it's a great achievement.

8. Favourite authors?

Peaky Blinders writer Steven Knight who is to adapt Dickens classics for the BBC next year, Belfast playwright Owen McCafferty and Roald Dahl.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

Liverpool and Celtic are my teams, but I love all sport – soccer, GAA, rugby, baseball, American football. I enjoy playing football and boxing training – that is how I keep fit. It comes in useful as an actor as for my audition in my latest movie, A Good Woman is Hard to Find, we had to do 30 150 metres sprints whilst wearing steel toe caps. After 15 sprints, as other actors were bent over double throwing up, I was grateful for my boxing training. I might even have a go at Conor McGregor some time.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Any where sunny with my family.

11. Pet hate?

The colour pink, especially pink shirts.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Sunday roast.

Dessert? Eton Mess.

Drink? Latte.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

Ciarán Nolan and Gerard Jordan who are currently starring in The Terrible Tragedy of the Twinbrook Turkey at Belfast's MAC and my other Belfast acting buddy Lalor Roddy.

14. Is there a God? Definitely.

If not I wouldn't be in Peaky Blinders.

:: Packy Lee stars as Johnny Dogs in Peaky Blinders. Series five of the gangster drama has just been commissioned and will again star Packy.