Stewart: I was not slumming on Trek

In recent years Patrick Stewart has return to his roots as a Shakespearean actor, but in a new interview with the UK’s The Times, the former Jean Luc Picard makes it clear that he is proud of his time in the captain’s chair of the Enterprise on Star Trek The Next Generation. See below for video and what he had to say.


Stewart – proud of work on Trek
In the video interview with The Times, Stewart makes it clear that he is proud of his work on Trek

In the days leading up to the pilot episode airing, we were doing a lot of press, and I became increasingly irritated by the suggestion from the media, that given my my background with the Royal Shakespeare Company, that I was in a sense ‘slumming’ by doing this syndicated science-fiction television series. Until one day I lost control and I said "listen no only am I proud and delighted to be playing the captain of the Enterprise, but all those years of working for the Royal Shakespeare Company which you have referred to again and again, sitting in the throne of England, was nothing but a preparation of sitting in the captain’s chair of the Enterprise.

Stewart also talks about the ‘classic’ style of dialog of Trek, how proud of the work on Trek he is, how seriously they all took it, and how they tried to keep the show politically topical.


CLICK to see video (opens window to Times site)

Thanks to all those who sent in links to this article

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It’s Good to see that he want to play Picard from the beginning

Nice to know he liked being in the chair.

Patrick Stewart is a classy guy, a great actor, and Picard is an iconic character. Thanks for the interview. :]

Such a fine man. A class act. There is a reason why Star Trek has lived so long. It’s the same reason Shakespeare has lived so long. Truth. Both give us the truth. They explore the human condition in action, drama and comedy.

Three cheers for Mr. Stewart!

I heard several times that he disliked his role. It’s good to know it isn’t true. Stewart is obviously an outstanding actor, and a good human being. It’s nice to know that he also became, at least in some way, a Trekkie.

A lot of journalists, especially here in the UK, just don’t get Trek.

They have a lot to learn, and most of them shouldn’t be in the business they’re in.

i agree with all that have weighed in so far. Mr. Stewart is one of the finest actors of our time, and i have enjoyed all his work. This christmas season TNT played his version of A Christmas Carol and I thought it was magnificant. Everything he works on is gold. Thanks foe being a class act Mr. Stewart

Captain Picard will always be my favorite Trek character; Patrick Stewart will always be my favorite Trek actor.

Because of how much both mean to me, it’s always been important to me that Stewart wasn’t regretful of his time on Trek or of having played Captain Picard. I was always a little hurt by those stories that came out in years past that characterized Stewart as being regretful or unappreciative of his time on Trek. I’m glad to see that he’s set the record straight once and for all. And I think I speak for (almost) everyone when I say that we’d all love to see him (and the rest of the TNG gang) back one more time so they can get the proper send-off they deserve.

An officer (on television) and a gentleman (in reality).

Good to hear, but ‘thrown of England’? Seriously? Might I suggest ‘throne of England’?

Class act, all the way. He has stated publicly several times how proud he is of his time on Trek and how much he enjoyed his role as the captain.

He has also come to the defense for us Trekkies many times. I recall an interview where someone made an aside about Star Trek fans being obsessive geeks, etc. and Stewart’s reply was essentially that Star Trek fans are devoted, passionate and above all, intelligent!

I heard a rumor that he rides the subway when he’s in NYC. I always hope I’ll bump into him.

What’s not to love about Patrick Stewart? The man is so amazingly talented; for that matter, so was the entire cast of TNG. They were fabulous together, and Patrick Stewart’s portrayal of Captain Picard was awesome! I looked forward to it every week!

I agree with Chroma: Picard IS an iconic character, and Mr. Stewart owned that character.

I remember seeing Patrick Stewart in a movie for the first time. It was David Lynch’s production of “Dune”. He played Paul’s combat trainer and he stood out soooo much in that movie…for me. I remember thinking, “Wow! Now that’s a powerful man.” I’ve been a fan ever since. Picard is an iconic character…as is his portrayal of Scrooge. And of course, he was the perfect Xavier. I also remember seeing him with Whoopie Goldberg on the Tonight Show when she joined the TNG cast. He was a riot and a delight to see as himself. “Class Act” seems to be the consensus, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Spell check. Come on guy(s). Is this modern journalism? It’s shameful. You can do better. Take pride in your work. Sheesh.

Patrick Stewart has proved, once again, why he is one of my most favorite actors in the entire world. Bravo!

Excellent clip, and Stewart always impresses with his impressive blend of quiet good humor, gravitas, and dignity.

I never really fully embraced TNG (and at this stage, I’m not likely to), but I love the cast, and Picard has the distinction – almost entirely, I’m sure, do to Stewart himself – of being the only Starfleet Captain whose advice I’d ever take seriously :)

(I’d follow Kirk to my death, but I’d be snickering about him behind his back)

I managed to get two versions of “impressive” right in there, didn’t I? Oh, my kingdom – indeed, my thrown! – for an edit feature :(

picard > kirk (imo; to each their own) this is largely due to Stewart’s acting ability.

Stewart never knew who the American actor was up against him for the role of Picard? We all know now that it was Edward Olmos from BSG. I wonder if Stewart is now aware of that fact?

Patrick Stewart is such a cool guy- and this is coming from someone who isn’t even a big fan of TNG. :)

Just watched six episodes from the 4th season of TNG in a row (just like yesterday :) and can only say that Jean-Luc Picard is the best Captain ever on a Star Trek show, the one who comes very near to Gene Roddenberrys vision. He will always be by far the one (followed by Sisko and then Kik imo). Patrick Stewart gave a brilliant interpretation and is a standout actor.
Plus he repeatedly spoke with respect and appreciation of Star Trek and his role, which made him world famous.

Sitting on the “thrown” of England? Are you kidding me?

Trekkies are supposed to be the SMART space opera fans! :-)

Glad to see he’s no longer trying to distance himself from the show. He was for awhile, especially after Nemesis (who wouldn’t?) but now that Trek is coming into vogue again he’s keeping the Trek door open.

His one-man show of A Christmas Carol is far superior to the TNT version of it, even if he did star in it also. Hearing him deliver Dickens’ prose makes for the definitive reading of the story.

Oh come on, cut them some slack, would ya? It’s a BLOG, they’re in a hurry, etc. Every last one of us knows what was *meant*. This isn’t the Associated Press.

I gotta say, as much as I love the new direction JJ is taking the franchise… I’ll always miss Captain Picard. He was such a great character (at least the dignified one from the TV show, not the dumbed-down action hero from the movies).

It’s always great to hear anything from Patrick Stewart. He is one of few actors working today whom I have utter respect for, and that’s not just because he was captain of the Enterprise (or Professor X). He’s always had an air of dignity and grace about him, and it’s good to know he’s still acting, even if it isn’t on the bridge of the Enterprise.


Yeah, he seemed almost bitter at the fans for not embracing his beloved Nemesis more.

I guess it’s only natural though, considering the time and emotional investment these actors put into their movies.

#19 – you’re kidding! I never knew that.

Edward James Olmos would have been fantastic. Not that I’d prefer the one over the other. But he certainly shares Patrick Stewart’s gravity and skill as an actor.

That being said, I love Patrick Stewart and wouldn’t trade his rendition of Captain Picard for anything. One thing I appreciate the most about Picard in retrospect is what a fantastic role model that character really was as I grew up–more so than any of the other Captains I dare say. His sense of morality really made The Next Generation transcend the Original in its thoughtfulness and sophistication.

“This summer, the 25 year old Star Trek franchise hits the big screen again” The Times. What???

Patrick Stewart’s Picard, to me, was the perfect captain. He was not quick to the gun, but not slow either. He was both a diplomat and a soldier. I also hope that Captain Picard will be seen one last time.

I remember hearing the comparison that the Capt. of the USS Enterprise was partly formed around Hornblower from CS Lewis’s book series, Patrick made that character take flight.


The man is pure class


Yeah…they’re in trouble now. When Trek fans notice an inconsistency as glaring as that, it’s open season! :D

Re: #19. Harry

Edward James Olmos? BSG? Miami Vice? Blade Runner? Shut up!!

(Oh, that ‘shut up’ means “no way”!)

Really? Where did you find that out? That’s like a 180 or 360 degree shift. They are so totally different in looks. Maybe it was the cool facade that hardly ever smiled. A similar outside.


# 29

I spotted that as well! Shoddy journalism indeed !

Mr. Stewart is simply…duh man! haha


Really? Trekkies are the smart ones? I know you’re kidding, but there is this notion floating around out there that “Trekkies are supposed to be smart, because Star Trek is so ‘smart'”. I guess compared to Star Wars, maybe. I know they like to think they’re the smart ones, and that Star Trek is somehow more technically well-thought out, but when you weigh Star Trek against the larger world of science fiction (books!), it really doesn’t rank. Star Trek is entry-level…not that that’s a bad thing, mind you. I love Star Trek, and for me it was the “gateway drug” that led to far more intelligent and compelling stuff. Is Star Trek cool? Yeah. Is it smart? No. A resounding no. It’s consumer product for a general audience – as such it has to remain comprehendible to as many people as possible. Star Trek is precisely as well thought-out, technically & conceptually as early Fantastic Four comics (I love those too!!); pure fantasy wrapped in scientific-sounding technobabble, but Star Trek was never about really challenging it’s audience. For that, you have to go elsewhere.

#35, That pretty much sums it up, I could never picture TNG without him. Glad to see how proud of he is of his work on the show. We all appreciated his performance.

Even though some of the other actors on TNG were not exactly at the top of their game (to put it politely!) at times Stewart always put in a good performance.

19. Harry Ballz

“Stewart never knew who the American actor was up against him for the role of Picard? We all know now that it was Edward Olmos from BSG. I wonder if Stewart is now aware of that fact?”

I thought I’d heard a long time back that Ben Kingsley was also considered for the Picard role. In any case, Patrick Stewart sure lived up to it.

Now, if you do want to see Patrick Stewart slumming in a sci-fi role, go out and rent yourself the DVD of “Lifeforce” sometime…

A true legend, make it so!


This must be 1991, and we’re all feverishly awaiting the release of “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”


Katie, Edward James Olmos was interviewed on The View recently and he acknowledged that the role of Picard was offered to him, but he foolishly turned it down! I’m glad he did because Patrick Stewart is a much better actor and played the part to perfection!


Stewart himself says he was up against an American and, as we know, Ben Kingsley is British!

Patrick Stewart is a great actor and can play the full range of parts.

I just wish he would come to the Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, (Maybe this year) and discuss his stage acting in GB.

Trek has seen many fine actors, but Stewart is the finest of them all. He gave humanity and gravitas to Picard and instilled Trek with a sense of class from his presence alone.

He is a great actor and was a great captain. Second best captain of the enterprise ever but still great.

I had the great pleasure of bumping into Patrick Stewart while working at a football (soccer :-) ) match in Huddersfield here in Yorkshire in 2005. He kindly autographed my team sheet (I’ve got it proudly framed on the wall) and said he too was a big fan of Star Trek. I can back up the comments earlier of him being a classy guy – he was a real gentleman.



Actually, I wouldn’t mind if that were the case. I thought ‘The Undiscovered Country’ was a pretty good entry into the series. In fact, it was the first Trek movie I ever saw in the theater.

#19 sez: “Stewart never knew who the American actor was up against him for the role of Picard? We all know now that it was Edward Olmos from BSG. I wonder if Stewart is now aware of that fact?”

We don’t really know that. We know that Olmos was offered the role, but Stewart specified that it came down to two – him and an unknown American actor. We know Olmos was in the running, but not that he was the other side of that final pair. Given that Olmos says he turned it down, it seems more likely that he wasn’t one of the final actors considered, but was approached earlier on (but even then, it’s down to guesswork … maybe he turned it down at the very last minute) :)