Alexander Hugh Norton (born 27 January 1950) is a Scottish actor. He is known for his roles as DCI Matt Burke in the STV detective drama series Taggart, Eric Baird in BBC Two sitcom Two Doors Down, DCS Wallace in Extremely Dangerous, Gerard Findlay in Waterloo Road and Eddie in the Renford Rejects. He has also had roles in internationally successful films including Braveheart, Local Hero and Les Misérables.
Norton was born in Househillwood, Glasgow and spent part of his childhood in Moffat Street in the Gorbals before moving to Pollokshaws. He was educated at Shawlands Academy, Glasgow. He discovered acting at the age of fourteen via an out-of-school drama group. This led to his part in the TV series Dr. Finlay's Casebook and with it the decision that acting was the career for him. Because of his background and his father's lack of approval of his chosen career, Norton decided to avoid the traditional route into acting and instead worked from part-to-part.
He has appeared in numerous films including Bill Forsyth's Gregory's Girl (1980), Local Hero (1983) and Comfort and Joy (1984), A Sense of Freedom (1981), Comrades (1986), Hidden City (1987), Scandal (1989), Countdown to War (1989), Robin Hood (1991), Chernobyl: The Final Warning (1991), Blame It on the Bellboy (1992), Squanto: A Warrior's Tale (1994), Little Voice (1998), Orphans (1998) and Beautiful Creatures (2000), as well as Hollywood blockbusters such as White Hunter, Black Heart (1990) with Clint Eastwood, Patriot Games (1992) with Harrison Ford, Braveheart (1995) starring Mel Gibson and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) with Johnny Depp. He played Captain Bellamy, a captain of a supposedly haunted ship; a rumour sparked the discovery of Elizabeth Swann's dress on board. Norton's character Bellamy picked up the character of William Turner who was lost at sea. This decision ultimately lead to his death by the Kraken. This role was suited to Norton to play because of his Scottish roots. He portrayed a perfectly believable, honest and logical Scottish Pirate. Norton also voiced Thurston McCondry in the animated shorts Haunted Hogmanay and Glendogie Bogey.
In addition to his role as DCI Matt Burke in Taggart, he had previously appeared in the same series as murder suspect George Bryce in the episode "Knife Edge" in 1986.
He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 2003 when he was surprised by Michael Aspel. In 2005, Norton was presented with the opportunity to play a part in Peter Jackson's King Kong; however, he could not accept the offer because it happened to interfere with the TV project he was working on at the time.
From August to September 2012 he played the role of Gerard Findlay in Waterloo Road, a headteacher from rival school Havelock High School.
From 2013-2021, Norton has plays Eric in the sitcom Two Doors Down.
In the 1970s he met his wife, Sally Kinghorn. They met on the set of a BBC Schools series. The couple have three sons, Jamie, Rory and Jock.
In 2014, at the time of the Scottish independence referendum, Norton endorsed a "Yes" vote in favour of independence.
Awards and other work
Norton has also won two awards for writing. "Extras", an episode of First Sight for Channel 4 and Waiting for Elvis for STV. He also has an interest in directing. He directed the first production of Tony Roper's The Steamie, as well as directing Glasgow's King's Theatre's pantomimes for a five-year period.
He has also done voice over work on Medieval Total War II as the voice of some of the Scottish characters in the game, along with voicing Gaunter O'Dimm in Hearts of Stone, an expansion pack for the video game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and King Rab in Dragon Quest XI . He provided additional vocals on "The Song of Mor'du" in Brave, which also featured his wife Sally Kinghorn. He also appeared on The Weakest Link TV Drama Characters Edition. He was the first one voted off.
Norton also fronts the STV crime show Unsolved. Norton also plays grandad in CBeebies programme Woolly and Tig.
- The Hunch (1967) .... Ian
- A Sense of Freedom (1979) .... Malkie
- Gregory's Girl (1981) .... Alec
- Local Hero (1983) .... Watt
- The Black Adder (1983) .... McAngus, Duke of Argyll
- Every Picture Tells a Story (1983) .... William Scott Sr.
- Comfort and Joy (1984) .... Trevor
- Comrades (1986) .... Diorama Showman / Lanternist / Laughing Cavalier / Sgt. Bell / Mr Wetham (scene cut) / Usher / Wollaston / Ranger / Tramp / Captain / McCallum / Silhouettist / Mad Photographer / Witch
- Hidden City (1987) .... Hillcombe
- Rab C Nesbitt (1988) Seasonal Greet .... Dodie
- Scandal (1989) .... Detective Inspector
- Bearskin: An Urban Fairytale (1989) .... Harold
- Countdown to War (1989, TV Movie) .... Stalin
- White Hunter Black Heart (1990) .... Zibelinsky
- Chernobyl: The Final Warning (1991, TV Movie) .... Dr. Andreyev
- Robin Hood (1991) .... Harry
- Under Suspicion (1991) .... Prosecuting Lawyer
- Blame It on the Bellboy (1992) .... Alfio
- Patriot Games (1992) .... Dennis Cooley
- Squanto: A Warrior's Tale (1994) .... Harding
- Braveheart (1995) .... Bride's Father
- Les Misérables (1998) .... General
- Orphans (1998) .... Hanson
- Little Voice (1998) .... Bunnie Morris
- Complicity (2000) .... Kenny Garnet
- Beautiful Creatures (2000) .... Det Insp Hepburn
- The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) .... Napoleon
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) .... Captain Bellamy (Edinburgh)
- Sir Billi (2012) .... Butler / Baron McToff (voice)
- Underdogs (2013) .... Gregor (English version, voice)
- "Heroes, heroin and the ghost from Alex Norton past". Herald Scotland. 19 March 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- Young, Andrew (21 April 1987). "Alex Norton, Man of many parts". The Herald. p. 4. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
- "Alex Norton". Bigredbook.info. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
- Christie, Janet (7 December 2014). "Actor Alex Norton: From the Gorbals to Hollywood". Scotsman.com. Johnston Publishing Ltd. Retrieved 4 January 2019.