On my radar: Tom Felton’s cultural highlights

Born in Surrey in 1987, actor Tom Felton rose to fame playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films. His other film roles include Anna and the King, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Amma Asante’s Belle and A United Kingdom. He is also a musician, and is one of the founders of Six String Productions, a recording company devoted to signing young musical artists. He stars opposite Samantha Morton in Sky original Save the Cinema, about a Welsh community’s battle to save their local theatre from demolition.

1. Theatre

Dear Evan Hansen

Sam Tutty and Rebecca McKinnis as Evan and Heidi Hansen.
Sam Tutty and Rebecca McKinnis as Evan and Heidi Hansen. Photograph: Matthew Murphy

I found this really poignant and important. Teen suicide is not a subject people might jump into, but I don’t know any contemporary musical that has opened up more of a conversation on this – and it need to be discussed a lot more. Now, me and my 15-year-old niece can talk about that sort of thing without it being an absolutely terrifying subject. The music’s fantastic, the performances are wonderfully done. And it’s really contemporary: you see texts flying up and down the wall, and visual representations of how things go viral.

2. Album

George Harrison: All Things Must Pass

DiscoDISCO / GEORGE HARRISON singt My Sweet Lord in der ZDF-Musiksendung Disco, 19. August 1972. George Harrison, performance, ZDF Music Show: Disco, 1972. (Photo by Arthur Grimm/United Archives via Getty Images)
George Harrison, 1972. Photograph: United Archives/Arthur Grimm/Getty Images

I got very excited about the 50-year anniversary box set of this album – it’s a big, geeky fan box full of vinyl, pictures, letters, pieces of writing. I haven’t actually opened it yet – it sits pride of place in my office – but I look forward to sharing it one night with a few other Beatles nut-heads like myself. I like going back to George, especially when I feel like I’ve listened to too much contemporary music – which I love, but his music brings me back to myself.

Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton: A Biography by Edward Rice

3. Book

Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton: A Biography by Edward Rice

I’m reading this at the moment. It’s a Bible-thick book about this guy who was essentially a spy – he was the original James Bond. Except he spoke, like, 17 languages and was one of the first white westerners to infiltrate different religious groups abroad, in places like Asia. I love the old Phileas Fogg idea of going away for 80 days and coming back with all these different spices and whatever else you’ve picked up. And this chap did it on a Herculean scale. I’m getting a real kick out of that right now.

4. Film

Vivo (Kirk DeMicco, 2021)

I’m completely obsessed with this animated film on Netflix. I’m a massive fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who plays the title character and wrote the songs. It’s set in Cuba, and Vivo is a beautifully cute little kinkajou, a small monkey, and he does this amazing musical routine for the tourists with his owner, a very old man who’s been making music his whole life. And they go on quite the adventure. I watched it with my niece, then watched it again a couple of days later by myself. Much like Hamilton, every time you watch it there’s another layer you didn’t see before.

5. Place

Westminster Abbey

Interior of Westminster Abbey, London, UKF09W8F Interior of Westminster Abbey, London, UK
Westminster Abbey in London. Photograph: Image Professionals GmbH/Alamy

I was very lucky to be asked by the Duchess [of Cambridge] – when I say asked, it wasn’t like Kate gave me a call and was like, “Hey, Tom, what you doing Friday?” – but they asked me to read out one of the poems for the Christmas carol service last month. My mum’s a big fan of hers. We’d never been to Westminster Abbey before, and we got there a couple of hours early to do a run-through. We both love history, so we could have walked around there for days looking at all the different people who had achieved certain things. It was much grander than I expected, and much warmer – sometimes those creepy old cathedral places feel a bit crypt-y.

6. Sport

Formula One

Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi on 12 December 2021.
Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi on 12 December 2021. Photograph: Joe Portlock/Formula 1/Getty Images

I was absolutely gripped this year. Hamilton has been dominating the sport for however many seasons it is in a row now, which made it less exciting, because you’re watching the winner win every time. But this year Max Verstappen, this plucky Dutch kid, has been on his tail the entire time, nipping at his heels. It came down to the most nail-biting finish, the sort of thing you’d write in a film, where in the last lap of the last race Max just edged in front. It does wonders for the sport – makes it a lot more interesting to watch.

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