The British actor Richard E Grant has described David Bowie as "a seminal influence on my generation."

In an interview in today's Observer, the Withnail & I star recalls growing up in Swaziland in Africa and wanting to be an actor. 

"When Ziggy Stardust burst on to the scene in the early 70s – somebody who shape-shifted in the way that he did – it was revelatory, " he declares. 

"A whole bunch of us copied his haircut from the Pin Ups album. Going to the V&A exhibition, David Bowie Is, felt like going to the cathedral of Bowie: to be in that exhibition with people who felt the same way was as near to a religious pilgrimage as anything I have felt and I am saying that as somebody who doesn’t believe in anything."

He also enthuses warmly about the writings of Christopher Isherwood, the Netflix (Mexican) film Roma and Matthew Bourne's production of Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake, "performed with an all-male company of cygnets as broadly populist as if it was a Broadway musical. 

"It deals with the violence of love, and sexuality and obsession in a way that the traditional interpretation of it doesn’t have in the same way. It deservedly got a standing ovation from the audience I saw it with."

The actor has been nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy award for his performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me? which opens in cinemas on February 1.

Roma: another fan in Richard E Grant