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Scottish Actors

When you think of famous Scottish actors, who springs to mind? This article highlights ten Scottish actors who have made a name for themselves far beyond the borders of their original home.

John Barrowman. The iconic Captain Jack in Torchwood, John Barrowman is also an accomplished presenter, singer and dancer. He won the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2010 with his professional partner Kristina Rihanoff.

Robert Carlyle. You may have seen Robert Carlyle in Trainspotting and/or The Full Monty - two hugely successful films which showcase the actor’s ability to get inside the skin of his characters. Carlyle played the chilling killer Albie Kinsella in Cracker and the Scottish policeman Hamish Macbeth in the TV series of that name. More recently he recorded the story of Johnnie Walker to promote the whiskey that took the Scottish farmer’s name.

Robbie Coltrane. In the TV series Cracker Robbie Coltrane played Fitz, a forensic psychologist who used his skills to solve complex crimes. Coltrane’s massive Hagrid was a central role in the Harry Potter films.

Billy Connolly. Best known as a comedian, Connolly has also taken on some challenging film roles including Queen Victoria’s servant John Brown in Mrs Brown (played by Judi Dench) and Father Joe in the X-Files movie I Want To Believe.

Sean Connery. The iconic James Bond actor is committed to his Scottish roots. In 2000, in traditional Scottish dress, he received a knighthood from the Queen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

Brian Cox. A distinguished Scottish actor, Cox’s work has ranged from The Prisoner to numerous roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company to William Stryker in the X-Men film X2. Cox paid homage to his Scottish roots in the films Rob Roy and Braveheart.

Denis Lawson. Ewan McGregor’s uncle, Lawson has the unusual accolade of having his first name misspelt in the credits for two of the Star Wars movies. Lawson played Scottish hotel owner Gordon Urquhart in Local Hero, a film where Scottish roots and tradition battle with American oil commercialism.

Ewan McGregor. McGregor first came to prominence as Mark Renton in the acclaimed film Trainspotting. He played the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars films and played Christian in Moulin Rouge opposite Nicole Kidman. McGregor’s passion for motorcycling has led to long distance road trips with Charley Boorman including a journey from John O’Groats in far north Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa.

John Hannah. Hannah’s varied acting career includes roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sliding Doors , The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. He played the young Inspector Rebus, a role later taken over by Ken Stott, in TV adaptions of Ian Rankin’s novels.

David Tennant. Some claim David Tennant was the best Dr Who ever; unfortunately Tennant was asked to suppress his Scottish accent for the role which he played from 2005-2010. Tennant has played many Shakespearean roles, and is best known for his portrayal of Hamlet. He appeared as Barty Crouch Jr in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Georgia Moffett, daughter of Peter Davison who played an earlier incarnation of Dr Who, took the title role in the 2008 Dr Who episode The Doctor’s Daughter; three years later, Tennant married her.

I confess to being one of those who does believe that David Tennant was the best Dr Who ever. If you, like me, are a David Tennant fan you can now purchase the complete box set of his Dr Who adventures - Doctor Who: The David Tennant Years.

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