London: Stage and screen legend Ian McKellen has called upon other gay actors to reveal their sexuality to the world.
McKellen, 76, returned to his school in Bolton to spread the message of the gay rights organisation Stonewall, and to offer some words of encouragement to the pupils of his alma mater.
"If the world is going to improve in the next 50 years as much as it has in the last 50, you're going to have a great life."
He then delighted the school assembly with his famous Gandalf line from Lord of the Rings, "You shall not pass!"
The acting legend recalled how hard it could be at school for people singled out as being different. He remembered his own experience of being gay at school, with the added difficulty of homosexuality being illegal at that time.
He added that absolutely anybody could be picked on for being different for any reason at all, and encouraged pupils to celebrate those differences.