He's been in Star Trek, X Men and numerous film and theatre productions.

But distinguished Mirfield actor Sir Patrick Stewart had never dressed as a woman.

So when the 75-year-old had to don a platinum blonde wig, heavy make-up and gaudy jewellery, he didn’t find it a drag.

Instead, he relished the transformation, which was for Blunt Talk, his US comedy show about TV news.

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In an interview in the Mirror, Sir Patrick said: “I know all English actors love getting into frocks but I had never ever worn drag before, so I jumped at the opportunity.

“The biggest challenge was the four-inch high heels, so I took them home to practice. Sunny (Ozell, his third wife) was very amused - and gave me lots of tips on how to walk. I spent the weekend tottering around until finally I could manage without breaking my ankle. I enjoyed it enormously.”

Sunny is 38 years his junior. A singer, they met when she was working as a waitress in New York, and dated for four years before marrying in 2013.

Sunny Ozell (left) and Patrick Stewart
Sunny Ozell (left) and Patrick Stewart

“She doesn’t keep me young, she’s got nothing to do with it. That’s not why we’re together. In my profession age is irrelevant. As a teenager I had friends decades older than me. So there are no age issues whatsoever.”

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Born in 1940 in Mirfield, he had a tough childhood in a small terrace house, with a former Army father - now believed to have had PTSD - who was violent towards his mother.

Thanks to a schoolteacher, he fell in love with Shakespeare and after a scholarship to Bristol Old Vic, joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and became a regular on period TV dramas.

He is currently basking in rave reviews from the thriller Green Room, in which he plays a sadistic thug. It has just been released in UK cinemas.

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He plays the owner of a neo-nazi clubhouse, forced to gruesomely hunt down and kill a visiting rock band after they witness a murder.

He said: “Sunny walked out twice. She said: ‘I’m sorry I can’t take this’, walked outside for 10 mins, came back, then 15 minutes later, had to go outside again! At another point my agent was sitting with his head in his hands. But that’s thrilling for me because it’s exactly the response you want.”

Having watched his father be violent, he has some problems with violent roles.

Sir Patrick Stewart outside his childhood home in Camm Lane, Mirfield.
Sir Patrick Stewart outside his childhood home in Camm Lane, Mirfield.

“What is difficult for me, when a member of an audience, is the emotional aspects of it rather than the physical violence.”

Star Trek, which shot him to global stardom, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and it is now many years since he stopped playing Jean-Luc Picard.

He also enjoyed his role as Prof Charles Xavier in the X-Men series.

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The latest film in the series is out now and James McAvoy, who’s playing Xavier, shaved his head so the character could transition into the bald Professor X, the man we met in the original trilogy, played by Stewart.

Stewart witnessed the moment McAvoy lobbed off his locks via FaceTime - and asked if he could send them to him. He now, reportedly, keeps a bag of McAvoy’s hair in his safe.

Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier
Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier

The years are not taking their toll on the star.

“I’m 76 in two months’ time. Ageing brings with it some problems but it also brings with it many, many advantages. Your experience of the world is built up, your experience of people is greater. Your knowledge is greater. I look on ageing in that sense of being an advantage for me.”