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Style Hero: Ben Aldridge

Style Hero: Ben Aldridge

The West Country actor with dashingly good looks has played a d*ick-head millennial heart-throb in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s cult show Fleabag, a formidable army captain in hit BBC TV series Our Girl, and a murdered Wall Street banker on stage in American Psycho. Now, he and his rather fine moustache are preparing to take the nation by storm again in upcoming series Pennyworth, about Bruce Wayne’s multi-hyphenate butler, Alfred Pennyworth.

Both Aldridge and his aforementioned facial hair stole the limelight at the FLANNELS X GQ Heroes event last month. Sporting a nifty selection of bomber jackets and work-wear inspired pieces by Valentino and Gucci, his wardrobe selections for this shoot confirmed what we already knew: that he’s a man who knows a thing or two about fashion. No wonder, then, that we have declared him one of our Style Heroes.

A regular on our TV screens for some time now, Aldridge IRL is every inch the English gent, the antithesis of his sometimes-brooding, sometimes-knob-headed, on-screen characters. Witty, laid-back and courteous, he really does have very nice manners – the sort of person you’d be very happy to take home to your mum (although god help you if she’s anything like Fleabag’s repellent stepmother). We talked boot camps, the significance of clothes and small acts of heroism with the star. One question remains: does it get very boring, everyone telling him how gorgeous he is all the time?

Actor Ben Aldridge in the grounds of an English coutnry house wearing a blue silk Gucci NY Yankees bomber jacket
Actor Ben Aldridge in the grounds of an English coutnry house wearing a blue silk Gucci NY Yankees bomber jacket


In a nutshell, tell us where you’re from and what you do.

Devon’s finest. I’m from the southwest of England. Though I mostly live in London nowadays. And I’m an actor.

Growing up, who was your hero and why?

Oh lord. I grew up in a super-spiritual born-again Christian environment (not the case now) so we were raised to not have idols or heroes. But I think my friends have always been my heroes and they continue to be.

We can see from your Instagram feed that you’re a snappy dresser. What role do fashion and clothes play in your life?

I love clothes. They tell a huge story about who we are before we even open our mouths. I’ve always had a sense of my own style and cultivated my taste from early on. My Mother and two sisters would always ask my opinion on their outfits before leaving the house for a night out. Tiny stylist vibes. I used to customise my clothes when I was a teenager, ironing on flames and ripping and stitching. V wild. V cool.

Actor Ben Aldridge sat on a chair in the grounds of an English country house wearing blue Gucci trousers, a white T-shirt and a blue silk Gucci NY Yankees bomber jacket
Actor Ben Aldridge sat on a chair in the grounds of an English country house wearing blue Gucci trousers, a white T-shirt and a blue silk Gucci NY Yankees bomber jacket


How was playing army man and born leader, Captain James, on screen in Our Girl?

I had just been doing a musical adaptation of American Psycho at The Almeida before starting on Our Girl so jumping from one world to another felt very extreme. It couldn’t have been more of a contrast. From dancing and singing every night to a brutal boot camp. Truthfully, it was intimidating to find myself portraying such an authoritative war hardened captain, his were big boots to fill but I loved playing him for four seasons and couldn’t have hoped for a better cast. That job marked a big transformation for me and a growth in confidence. We also got to do a huge amount of travelling. I’m very grateful for it.

Not all heroes wear capes – what’s the most heroic thing you’ve ever done?

Ooooft. What a question. I want to say saved a life or something. But again, I think it’s probably that I count myself a good friend – I pride myself in that.

Have you ever met a modern-day hero? Who were they and what do they do?

I think I’ve met many. Anyone who has survived the many and various hardships that life can throw at us. I’m constantly impressed by people’s resilience. I think we’ve all got a little bit of a hero in us.

Arsehole Guy is a bit of a millennial anti-hero. What was it like to play the bad guy?

It was glorious to play such a d**k. Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote such ridiculous and brilliant things to do and say and it was a total pleasure to be in scenes with her. I’m very, very proud to be a small part of it. I think it’s rare for a TV show to be so searingly painful yet brilliantly funny. We can all relate to her, she hits so many truth buttons and now we’re all feasting on it. I think Phoebe’s genius is exceptional. It’s also bought about a lot of ‘are you the guy who f***** Fleabag in the ****?’ Which has been quite bizarre and a bit of a highlight.

Actor Ben Aldridge stood in the open garden doorway of an English country house wearing green cargo pants, a padded khaki green workwear jacket, a white T-shirt with a red Valentino logo and Veja trainers
Actor Ben Aldridge stood in the open garden doorway of an English country house wearing green cargo pants, a padded khaki green workwear jacket, a white T-shirt with a red Valentino logo and Veja trainers


You play fictional superhero Bruce Wayne’s billionaire dad, Thomas Wayne in the upcoming Batman prequel Pennyworth. What can we expect from the series?

Sex, blood, violence, incredible music, punchy action scenes, romance, politics, espionage, sexy costumes, London in the ‘60s, twist and turns, the supernatural, the underworld, the high-life, unpredictable character driven drama all wrapped up in a seriously stylish world with a DC bow on it. And my moustache.

Who is the actor, living or dead, you most admire and why?

It’s a long-standing ambition of mine to make my own work so I find Phoebe Waller-Bridge a bit of an inspiration. For many reasons. For her bravery and honesty in the material she writes. For making her own work and generating her own space in the industry. For telling stories that make you laugh hard but hurt even harder. And for being a brilliant and candid human.

Actor Ben Aldridge sat on a table in an English country house, looking straight into the camera, wearing a pair of khaki green cargo trousers and a white Valentino T-shirt with a red VLTN logo on the front
Actor Ben Aldridge sat on a table in an English country house, looking straight into the camera, wearing a pair of khaki green cargo trousers and a white Valentino T-shirt with a red VLTN logo on the front


QUICKFIRE ROUND:

Your favourite superhero?

F***. That’s hard. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman.

Three words your friends would use to describe you?

Sexy. Courageous. Astonishing.

What did you do on your last day off?

Hung out with my nieces and nephew. My niece told me that her and I are exactly the same in every way other than my facial hair. I agreed. She’s 5.

Best advice anyone has ever given you?

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Your favourite film?

Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet.

Biggest lie you ever told?

I told my nursery school teacher that my mum chained me to a chair and put me in the freezer. She didn’t.

Your favourite place in the world?

Under the sea, somewhere tropical. Snorkelling.

Photography: Matthew Brann, Words: Florence Trott