How good is your French?
Not as good as you might think, considering I’ve lived in Paris, on and off, for a decade. My son understands French much better than me. He watches The Simpsons dubbed into French and laughs at all the right bits. I only vaguely understand it if I’ve seen the original episode. My French has got a little better, but it’s such a slow and tortuous process. I never really applied myself as much as I should have done. I should go and enrol on one of those courses, like David Sedaris did in Me Talk Pretty One Day.
How did you enjoy your appearance on Question Time? You looked like you’d just woken up.
Cheeky git. I think I only woke up halfway through the programme, actually. I was a bit nervous about it. I know that previous shows had been a bit heated, especially at the height of the expenses scandal. But it was weird. You turn up to this sports hall in the middle of Cambridge and Harriet Harman is having her hair done, and Ian Duncan Smith is talking to someone, and that guy Peter Hitchens was asking me if my mum was really a Conservative councillor, ’cos he’d researched me on Wikipedia. Which is true. I’ve always completely disagreed with my mother over politics, but arguing is kinda what families are all about, isn’t it?
What was your role in Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox?
At one point I was going to narrate the introduction to the film, but then they showed it to an American preview audience and they couldn’t understand my accent, even though I was trying to speak in my clearest, poshest voice. Maybe I’ll just be a DVD extra. So I ended up with one line, and I did this song, where I wrote the music and Wes wrote the words with Noah Baumbach. I think the film is wonderful, and weirdly similar to other Wes Anderson productions. It’s nice to see foxes discussing really mundane things.