Did you always want to be an actor and how did your career get started?
My father was an actor, so I had that advantage of knowing what the business entailed. It wasn’t a fairytale like “oh wouldn’t it be great to be an actor” - I knew what it was like to be an actor, I knew it was difficult, trying to get jobs and all that sort of thing. So I came into it with my eyes wide open.
I left school very early when I was 15 and went to work at Arnott Young’s, the shipbreakers in Clydebank, which was interesting, and I quickly decided that I didn’t want to pursue shipbreaking as a career. So I left and I hitchhiked down to London where my father was working. In those days you could do that, so I went down there and met up with my Dad and met a director, a lady called Prudence Fitzgerald, and she gave me my first job. She said “are you an actor?” and I said “yes”.
It was working with Bill Simpson and Andrew Cruickshank on Dr Finlay’s Casebook. Bill and Andrew were absolutely lovely with me because I couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Every job you do you think “this is the one where I’m going to get found out”. I sort of fell into it really and I was absolutely useless at doing anything else, still am, so I thought I’ll just carry on with this, and it sort of worked out.