This summer, Brian Cox CBE is set to star as Winston Churchill in a hotly-anticipated biopic covering the last 24 hours before D-DayFreddie Dyke/Cambridge Union Society

There are few that can be described as one of their generation’s greatest actors. Indeed, even for those that fall under that illustrious label, I find they often fail to live up to it when met ‘in real life’. Perhaps I expect too much, placing weight not only on eloquence and oratory skills but also on the fortitude to speak candidly about a range of topics.

Fortunately, these characteristics are all brilliantly evident as Brian Cox delivers a lucid and theatrical dissection of the evisceration of the tolerant political order which we once cherished. Despite having a tendency to ramble, and often descending into the somewhat incoherent, Cox’s poetic delivery and charm are sufficient compensation. He starts with Margaret Thatcher: “with a single sweep she severed the industrial and social lifeline of these islands”. Cox then moves onto Tony Blair: “The feeling of hope after that [Tony Blair’s] election was absolutely astonishing – you could almost taste it in your mouth. I was on a high for days. The values that had long, long been neglected had suddenly been dusted off and brought to the fore. Of course, my hope was short lived.”

“All babies look like Churchill, and Churchill looks like all babies. The cigar is almost like thumb sucking”

Brian Cox CBE

Following this impressively brutal savagery of two of the country’s more modern Prime Ministers, I draw Cox’s attention to the man who he will be embodying in his most recent, and hotly-anticipated film, Winston Churchill. Expecting some more nuanced and thoughtful political analysis, I am surprised when Cox launches into his theory of Churchill being akin to an infant. “Churchill was by nature an iconoclast”, he explains. “But he was also, in the best sense of the word, a baby. All babies look like Churchill, and Churchill looks like all babies. The cigar is almost like thumb sucking. There’s kind of an open innocence about him and frustration as well – babies get frustrated as well because they can’t get something.”

“One of my favourite characters is a little man from Family Guy – Stewie”, he continues, backing his point up with a beautifully hilarious reference to pop culture. “I think Churchill and Stewie Griffin have a lot in common – Stewie has this rage about him.”

The question that naturally follows from this somewhat unusual description of one of the country’s most-loved historical figures is to what extent Cox can use this theory to influence his portrayal of the wartime Prime Minister. Surely, I ask, his creative input into the portrayal of a historical character is more limited than with a fictional one. Yet Cox is quick to emphasise that this is simply not the case, telling me “the same rules that apply.”

After all, he explains, “it’s not Churchill – it’s a representation of Churchill. One of the great things for Churchill was his speaking, he was an incredible orator. His day to day speaking was entirely different to his oratory speaking, but we know him through his oratory speaking. Then there is the other side of him: playful, liking the alcohol and also his depressiveness – he was probably bi-polar – he had a lot of anger in him.”

But for all his theories about key figures in historical politics and all his fascinating insights into acting, Cox is unrelenting in his desire to eviscerate some of the major players of contemporary society. Nonetheless, his obvious stage presence and capacity to act always remains, and his eccentricity and ability to entertain shone through particularly strongly during his descriptions of Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, and Nigel Farage – three of Britain’s most prominent political figures – as “the traitor, the opportunist, and the ignoramus”.

“A closer look at both personalities [Farage and Trump] reveals them to be nothing more than opportunistic Del Boys”

Brian Cox CBE

Continuing on the attack, he lampoons those “three amigos [who] appeared like a culture of slime-mould on the dunghill of our political landscape. Johnson’s defence of greed is Bullingdon morality pure and simple. Impressed by gargantuan wealth and zillionaires, Johnson believes they should be given our hearty thanks. Nigel Farage of UKIP: surely the Waitrose version of the BNP.” Farage, Cox tells me, is an example of “another drone representing the xenophobic class-ridden vision of England, frozen somewhere in the 1950s.”

A lifelong Labour Party member until 2015, when he defected to the Scottish Nationalist Party, Cox is particularly emphatic on issues of inequality, telling me that “the financial crisis of 2008 brought sharply into focus the struggle between the haves and have-nots on both sides of the election.” He is also particularly powerful in his description of the tragic events in Aleppo, noting “I don't think that since WW2, we have seen as much human tragedy as we saw in Aleppo.”

Cox does not reserve his condemnation only for his home nation, using his skills as an infamous Shakespearean actor to unpick the legacy of Barack Obama: “Obama: the hope and change president. Obama, who expanded America’s favourite military past time: bombing, death squads and special operations as no other President has done since the Cold War. His foreign policy was well below the expectations of a Nobel Peace prize winner.”

In reference to the first days of the Trump presidency, Cox continues in his tirade. “A closer look at both personalities [Farage and Trump] reveals them to be nothing more than opportunistic Del Boys,” he says with a grimace. “Both of these populists in a newly forged Anglo-American alliance are not only the last gasp of a redundant white supremacy, but they are quite at ease with being environmentally illiterate and slowly destroying the planet.”

In his captivating Scottish accent, Cox also redefines the potential malevolence of Brexit, providing a far more poetic analogy than that of a ‘bargain-basement Britain’. “What is Brexit? Can you imagine?” he asks me rhetorically. “I can. I imagine a stagnant cricket pitch, somewhere in Surrey, and a permanently inconclusive game watched by crowds of braying hedge fund bankers. Prince Andrew is perhaps the guest of honour. They're eating only British food – Duchy Originals, tasting of cardboard. Members of the Countryside Alliance weave in and out, fundraising for their campaign to restore fox hunting and badger baiting”.

Leaving me with this horrific image etched into my mind, he pauses for a moment and smiles, before leaning back in his chair. An annihilation of the current state of British and American politics? Tick.

His job is complete