There was a time when the world went mad for Gillian Anderson. Or at least for Dana Scully, the sceptical FBI agent she played in The X-Files.
Internet sites with names like Gillian Anderson’s Testosterone Brigade sprung up, with devotees captivated by her cerebral yet sultry demeanour. FHM voted her Sexiest Woman in the World in 1996, after an April cover shoot sold so quickly that fans bombarded the magazine’s office with requests for back issues (one hopeful even sent in an unsolicited cheque for $200). When she arrived in Australia to promote the show, for a series of signings in shopping malls, there was a virtual stampede as thousands flocked to see her.
Today, she walks down London’s Bond Street, past the window of the luxurious Westbury Hotel where we meet, undisturbed. “I don’t usually get stopped,” she tells me, now safely ensconced on a sofa and ordering a latte. “People are pretty respectful. It’s mostly people turning heads going, ‘Wasn’t that…?’” It’s easy to see why. Her long hair now a blend of brown and blonde – some way from the distinctive auburn crop she sported in the show. At 5ft 3in, she’s also much...