Gay Times October 10 - Issue 385
He won our hearts with roles in EastEnders, Merlin and Miranda and when we caught up with Tom Ellis we found him even more charming in real life...
More from Gay Times October 10 - Issue 385
I was going to start this article with some quip about how hot British actor Tom Ellis aka the nicest guy on Earth loved playing the French horn when he was younger (oo-er, was it Oliver Martinez, etc, etc). A predictable opening, but a classic one… even Tom himself giggled having randomly dropped it into conversation the day of his GT shoot, before admitting the endless quotability of such a Freudian slip.
But this is our style issue; so let me begin PROPERLY by sharing a style secret from the Doctor Who and EastEnders star’s past…
“I was a bit of an experimental dresser in my teenage years. I never went out and spent a lot of money I’d raid my parents’ wardrobe [instead].” Wait for it. “I got obsessed with this shirt that I found, not even in my dad’s wardrobe, but my mum’s…” Cross dresser in our midst then?
Erm, not quite... the shirt in question was actually a women’s Slazenger badminton t-shirt that we’d hedge a bet he looked stonking in (there’s a fashion tip for you). But then as the epitome of tall, dark and handsome, Tom would look good in a bin bag. In fact, we’d dare say he’d look inexplicably sexy in a bin bag *mind wanders* It’s difficult to put your finger on, but there’s something profoundly attractive about Tom that goes beyond his physical appearance.
Not that I’m dismissing his physical appearance of course. In between slipping in and out of piles of lavish clothes and all but swinging from the chandeliers of the glorious Langham Hotel in central London for his GT shoot, he whips out his iPhone to tempt a room full of gays with a shot of him in the upcoming series of BBC wizard show Merlin.
“My Merlin costume is the best I’ve ever had,” he explains, as I help readjust the pair of ill-fitting jeans he’s wearing. (And no, we don’t deliberately get the measurements wrong so we can do that, but it’s rarely a chore when it happens). “I went to a proper costumiers and they made me a fitted suit of armour with leather trousers, which is all tied together.” A beautiful sequence of words, no?
“It takes 15 minutes to get on and off so it’s a nightmare to go to the toilet. It’s not going to fit anyone else when the job’s finished so I don’t know what the situation is there.” I note the wig he’s wearing and how different it makes him look. He laughs and tells me: “I did a thing for the BBC a couple of years ago called The Passion. I played one of Jesus’s disciples and I had a wig, which came down to below my shoulders. I was nicknamed Neil from The Young Ones by the rest of the cast.”
Neil from The Young Ones? Hardly. But like the eternal hippie, Tom’s interest in labels and fashion is limited to say the least, despite being described as “a bit of clothes horse” in the past. “I’m most comfortable in jeans and stuff as that’s the kind of thing I wear most days,” he admits. “At home I just wear t-shirts and cargo pants. We like to slop around. I’m not one of these people who has to iron shirts all the time. My style has always been really basic. Short hair, and I feel really uncomfortable clean-shaven. I’ve had this stubble for about three years – I’ve managed to blag it in every job saying ‘I think this guy would have stubble!’”
But his biggest fashion disaster? “When I was 17 and I was moving to Glasgow and didn’t have a lot of money. I went to the Officers Club, where there’s always a 70% discount on everything, and I bought a bright yellow puffa jacket.” Is your adolescence flashing before your eyes too? When it comes to style, colour always has and always will be a minefield.
“But Tamzin likes me in black, the classic look.”
Read more in the new issue of GT out now... and on ipad, iphone and all that jazz
Words Jamie Tabberer, Photos Rob Cable, Styling Dennis Maloney, Hair and make-up Bea Sweet