Patrick Stewart used to hide from bailiffs as a child.

The 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' actor claims keeping out of sight of debt collectors became a big ''game'' when he was a child because he was too young to realise his mother was suffering serious financial difficulties at the time.

Patrick told the April/May issue of AARP Magazine: ''Some of my earliest memories are of when a bill collector came to the door. My mother and I would hide behind the sofa and pretend we weren't in. I thought that was a great game.''

The 73-year-old actor admits he still makes very sensible purchases even though his former cast mates wanted him to splurge his first big paycheque on more expensive items.

Patrick explained: ''During the second 'Star Trek' season, I bought a new car, excitedly drove it onto the lot, and all the other cast members asked, 'What did you get?' I said, 'A Honda!' They all threw up their arms and rolled their eyes.''

Despite growing up in poverty, Patrick was able to put a positive spin on his past struggles.

He mused: ''I realised I could use those feelings and not only would nothing bad happen, but quite good things might happen.''