HE’S recognised the world over but woe betide anyone who tries to get a “selfie” photo with Hollywood superstar Sir Patrick Stewart.
The actor yesterday his annoyance and frustration at being approached by strangers “with cameras in their pockets” wherever he went.
Snap-happy celebrity spotters are likely to get a frosty reception – unless you happen to be a graduate of Huddersfield University, he said.
On a visit to the university, where he is chancellor, the Yorkshire-born classical actor turned Hollywood movie star spoke about his love for the town, its football club and its graduates.
He said: “Wherever I go in the world, I have the fortune, or misfortune, to be recognised by everybody with a camera in their pocket. That can be intrusive and untimely.
“Here is an offer,” he told graduating business students. “Wherever you see me, assuming I’m not on stage, please come and say hello, tell me what you graduated in and let me know how you are doing and I will pass it back to the university vice-chancellor.”
Earlier in the day, before taking part in a procession of graduates through the town, he told journalists that he was “not excited” about encounters with people in restaurants and on the Underground, before adding: “I make an exception for Huddersfield graduates.”
As he spoke, dozens of students and members of the public were happily snapping away on their camera phones. Later, during the graduation ceremony, one cheeky student managed a quick photo of himself and the X-Men star on stage at the St Paul’s Hall venue. Sir Patrick, who was accompanied by his new wife, singer-songwriter Sunny Ozell, said it was her first visit to West Yorkshire.
The pair have visited North Yorkshire as they have a house there. Later this week, he plans to show his wife some places in West Yorkshire where his “boyhood memories” were made.
He revealed that when he was away from Yorkshire he longed to return to see the landscape.
He told The Yorkshire Post that he also missed seeing his beloved Huddersfield Town but hoped to see some home games this coming season.
“I didn’t see a single Huddersfield Town game last year. I listened to the Kieran (O’Regan) and Oggy (Paul Ogden, Radio Leeds) on the radio at 10am every Saturday, when I was in New York.”
He’s got high hopes for the Terriers this season. He said: “I’m very optimistic – we have a great manager and a young squad coming through and some older, wiser heads. We could do very well this season and I will be at as many matches as I can this season.”
He told graduates that he wanted to see the blue and white of Huddersfield Town in lights on the campus central building “which I’m told glows in the dark.” In a rousing speech, he urged graduates to be courageous, quoting Winston Churchill: “The greatest virtue is courage because it makes all the other virtues possible. Enjoy this day and best of luck to each one of you.”
Sir Patrick, born and raised in nearby Mirfield, praised the impact that international students had on the life of the town. Among those listening was accountancy and finance graduate Wei Huang, 24, from Zhe Jiang province in China, who said: “Huddersfield is peaceful and the people are friendly.”