FORMER Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart is following in the footsteps of Peter O'Toole, by playing Henry II in a new film of The Lion In Winter.
The role of Eleanor of Aquitaine, which won an Oscar for the late Katherine Hepburn in 1968, has been taken by Glenn Close.
And the Mirfield-born actor has signified that he has cast off in the role of Star Trek's Capt Jean Luc Picard for the last time.
Stewart said of the new project: "There's no way we are saying we can do a better job than Peter O'Toole and Kate Hepburn."
But Stewart, who produced the project with wife Wendy Neuss, said he relished the challenge. "I felt a little intimidated by the reputations of the two great actors who had played it on film.
"But we thought another reason the film was so marvellous was that it had a brilliant screenplay. Something written so well deserves to be re-done."
Stewart said of quitting the role of Capt Jean Picard, of the Starship Enterprise: "We did seven years - 178 episodes and four feature films.
"Many people actually thought the last one was the best. I think it's the right time to hang up our spacesuits."
Hollywood star Stewart revealed his first love on TV last night - Valerie Clough, from Mirfield.
Millions of viewers saw him tell BBC2 motoring show Top Gear how she was the daughter of a family near his home in Mirfield. The star - 63 yesterday - told host Jeremy Clarkson: "We were quite poor when I was growing up. We never owned a car. I did not drive.
"The Cloughs had a Jaguar SS and an absolutely beautiful daughter, Valerie. I remember Valerie Clough from Mirfield."
He went on to reveal they had some romantic encounters in the back seat of the car he loved so much - and that sparked his life- long love of Jaguars.
Stewart is now on his second Jaguar XJS convertible. He said: "I think it is one of the most beautiful production cars."
Stewart also came near the top on the celebrity drivers' time trials. He told Clarkson: "You have made me very happy" after beating fellow actor Michael Gambon.
* Are you Valerie Clough or do you know her? If so, give our newsdesk a ring on 01484 437712.
Jun 13 2003
HOLLYWOOD star Patrick Stewart returned to the London stage last night. more
May 17 2003
ACTOR Patrick Stewart - best- known as Star Trek's Captain Jean-Luc Picard - is turning his hand to comedy. more
Apr 8 2003
HOLLYWOOD star Patrick Stewart's one-man show in Dewsbury is expected to have raised thousands of pounds for the redevelopment of his old youth club in Mirfield. more