Photography by Mr Alex Sainsbury. Styling by Mr Toby Grimditch.
Words by Mr Benjamin Seidler
Sporting a rugged, stubbled grin and a dapper Paul Smith navy blazer, 22-year-old Mr Jonathan Bailey possesses a playful and gentlemanly charm - the kind that is now so elusive with the constant barrage of toned and overly polished 'next big things'. Although he has already clocked up 16 years of experience - including impressing critics with roles on London's West End; a comedic turn in Channel 4 series Campus and now the lead role in CBBC's biopic of Mr Leonardo da Vinci - Mr Bailey nevertheless talks with the electric enthusiasm of a promising rookie.
How did you start in acting?
I started when I was about six. My sister did ballet and I used to sit in on her classes and would throw a few shapes at the back of the room. Then the teacher noticed me and sent me to the local church to perform for this lady who got me a part with the Royal Shakespeare Company, which then got me an agent.
You're now playing Leonardo da Vinci on the BBC in the UK. How do you prepare to play one of history's most intelligent and creative men?
It's tricky. But because he was forward-thinking at the time, he's like a modern man now, so he's quite relatable. I did a bit of exercise and worked out a bit before...
No, physically, because he's running around all the time. But, yes, I also went to Florence to help get into the mindset and see what his world was about.
How do you balance a career with a degree?
The Open University is ideal for me, because I have a freelance job and I can pick courses as I go along. There's so much waiting around on set, and so I like to keep my brain engaged when I'm not filming. I'm studying English and I just did a module on Leonardo da Vinci, and if I fail I'll feel completely ridiculous.
Who is your ideal leading lady?
Right now it's Christina Hendricks from Mad Men. She's sort of the ideal glamorous woman and has the best screen presence - and figure - ever. I also love Julianne Moore - maybe a script will come by where there's a 20-year-old going out with her.
Do you have a thing for redheads then?
I don't fancy the one from Girls Aloud, so, no ? I usually go for brunettes.
What film would you have liked to be in?
The Goonies. I'm still quite drawn to young parts and when I get an audition to play a young professional I think, "Come on, I'd have to stick on a beard, smoke a pipe and have a monocle to pull it off." But when I look in the mirror I see myself getting older. I would quite like to have been in Boogie Nights...
You already said The Goonies.
Yeah, but I want to be in a film with Philip Seymour Hoffman. Anyone who can flick through different media - who can smash a stage show and deliver something natural on film - I want to find out how that works.
What are you investing in sartorially at the moment?
I love my Oliver Sweeney lace-ups - they're shoes for life.
Do you think now is an exciting time for British actors?
Yes, I think there's an approach British actors have that contrasts with America. I think it comes down to identity. English actors just are who they are and work on their trade. Brits don't try to make themselves more commercial looking and if they have any quirks they don't try to play them down. In England, you flaunt who you are.
What are you most looking forward to?
I want to get back on stage. I just want to see if I can carry on going, because I feel it has all been quite flukey. But my greatest ambition is to play Hamlet at the National Theatre and to own a pad in London - and to get a degree.