McKellen advert voices age concern

Ian McKellen is famed for his velvet tones, but he's now appearing in a television advertisement speaking with the voice of a frail old woman.

The Lord Of The Rings star features in the attention-grabbing advert for Age UK, lip-synching to the words of an old woman who lives alone, in an appeal for the charity to help pensioners who are lonely and living in poverty.

McKellen said he normally steered clear of commercial work but was touched by the cause.

"I've broken a career-long refusal to do commercials just three times, so far.

"I did a voice-over for a Stephen King book, shortly after filming his Apt Pupil, and another promoting tours of the Tower of London.

"I said yes to the new Age UK campaign because I am aged and live in UK - and know how lucky I am to be working, active and have many friends.

"Being directed again by Richard Loncraine was a bonus. Congratulations to whoever provided the old lady's voice to my lip-sync."

In the ad, the 70-year-old actor is seen standing before the camera wearing a jacket, cardigan, open-necked shirt and glasses, speaking in a woman's voice about passing the time while living alone.

McKellen then says in his own voice: "I don't have any children. It can be no fun being lonely."

The X-Men star has recently arrived in Australia, where he is rehearsing his production of Waiting For Godot, which begins its tour of theatres in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth on Thursday.

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