Sir Ian McKellen: 'The reason I did The Dresser was to be in Anthony Hopkins' presence' (VIDEO)

(Image credit: BBC/Playground Entertainment/Jos)

Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins are two of our greatest actors, with a knighthood apiece, but they have never worked together before. That's all about to change with BBC2 drama The Dresser (Saturday, 31 October), which explores the relationship between troubled actor Sir (Anthony) and his fussy dresser Norman (Ian) during an eventful night backstage at a theatre during the Blitz.

What's On TV caught up with Ian, who told us that working with Anthony was the major draw of the piece.

"It was bliss, that is the reason I wanted to do it so much it was just to be in his presence. It is a thrill watching a great actor at work, I know that from having worked with Martin Freeman on The Hobbit or with Meryl Streep in a film or with Judi Dench, you get closer to them than any audience and they encourage the best out of you."

He continued: "I have known Anthony slightly but we have never worked together and this was ideal because it was in a world that we both knew and have a great affection for and we had a lot of laughs."

Watch the whole interview with Sir Ian McKellen, above."]

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.