Patrick Stewart has recalled how he almost missed out on the career-defining role of Jean-Luc Picard after Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry took a dislike to him.

The veteran British actor played the character on TV and in films from 1987 to 2002, returning to the franchise this year for the Amazon Prime Video series Picard.

The 79-year-old said screenwriter and producer Roddenberry had made it "perfectly clear" he was not wanted for the part after a brief initial interview.

Speaking during a virtual roundtable hosted by The Hollywood Reporter, he said: "It was very odd with Gene because I was dragged in to audition for him in his living room the morning after I'd been seen doing something at UCLA.

Stewart in classic Picard pose

"My meeting lasted about six minutes and then it was perfectly clear I was not wanted in that room any time longer.

"It was Gene who said, 'What the hell? I don't want a bald, middle-aged Englishman.'

"There was a faction who was very enthusiastic but Gene used to come on the set once a week - maybe twice, it depends on who the cast were - and I would catch him looking at me with an expression on his face which said, 'What the f*** is this guy doing in my show?'

"It was clear he couldn't understand why I was there.

"Somewhere in the cellar of Paramount Pictures, there's a Post-it note which says, 'I do not want to hear Patrick Stewart's name mentioned again ever,' signed Gene Roddenberry."