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Patrick Stewart plays Macbeth for PBS; hates reality TV

Winter TV Press Tour 2010

Patrick Stewart shows up at the Winter TV Press Tour 2010 to discuss his role playing Macbeth on PBS's "Great Performances," but he gets questions about playing Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Of course he does.

One critic, for instance, wonders whether fans of his Shakespearean work are dismissive of his "Star Trek" gig.

The question, the British actor explained, is uniquely American.


Executive producer David Horn, left, and actor Sir Patrick Stewart speak during PBS's session at the 2010 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena. (Getty Images)

"One of the things that took me by surprise when I came to live and work in Hollywood was the rebuttal of what I'd always believed . . . that I was coming to a completely democratic society, which did not have a hierarchy," he says.

"What I found when I arrived in Hollywood was that it had a more carefully and elaborately structured hierarchy than I had ever known in my life."

Shooting a syndicated sci-fi drama put him on one of the lowest rungs of the ladder, he admits.

In England that couldn't have happened," he maintains.

In England, they call it all "work" and there is no "pejorative aspect of any of that work."

On the other hand, some aspects of popular contemporary entertainment make him despair.

"I'm thinking here particularly of the huge influx of reality shows -- that I find deeply dismaying and discouraging," Stewart says.

"Watching one on BBC -- I watched about 25 minutes of it and I was alone and I thought to myself 'this would be a really good time to die'."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  January 14, 2010; 10:51 AM ET
Categories:  Winter TV Press Tour 2010  
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