During a career that has spanned several decades and 117 IMDB credits, Watkins has earned a reputation as something of a chameleon, the rare kind of actor who can play a Prime Minister (Harold Wilson in The Crown); an accused murderer (Christopher Jeffries in The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, which won him that BAFTA in 2015); the biographer of a serial killer (Brian Masters in Des, opposite David Tennant) and, soon, as another Prime Minister — the most famous one of all in fact (no offence, Alec Douglas-Home). He’s also appeared in Line of Duty; alongside Tom Hardy inTaboo and even in a Bond film, 1997's Pierce Brosnan-led romp Tomorrow Never Dies.
“It’s more of a cameo really,” says Watkins of his turn as Churchill in the upcoming six-part series SAS: Rogue Heroes, about the formation of the special forces unit in the wake of WWII, which will also feature Jack O’Connell and Dominic West. “You could say that the bar has been set quite high, but I think I’ve done a good job. It required a lot of researching old footage, speeches and archival material and then it’s a good old impersonator job.”
“Churchill was very eccentric,” adds Watkins. “He was this brilliant statesman. Extremely charismatic and a great orator, but on the flip side he was an artist, almost a dandy. He was very aware of how clothes can help you and and how they can give you a certain gravitas. He had this jumpsuit for his work as an artist that he wore everywhere. It had all these sorts of pockets. They weren’t a million miles away from the chore coats at Drake’s, in fact.”