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27 May 1981 |
Star of the cult Glasgow gang film Small Faces, he is best known for his work in Grange Hill, 'The Debt Collector' alongside Billy Connolly, Sea of Souls with Bill Paterson and Dawn Steele, Steven Spielberg's Band of Brothers and more recently as Gash in the cult British comedy Rab C. Nesbitt.
Robertson's talent was described by Billy Connolly as 'Immense', having shared the same secondary school in Govan as Connolly, St Gerard's. Robertson described growing up in Govan; "growing up in Govan put fire in my belly, made me push harder and also appreciate the things that have come my way".
Originally from Govan in Glasgow, Robertson grew up part of a family of seven in a two-bedroom tenement. He had no thoughts of becoming an actor until he received a report from his primary school teacher Mr O'Kane saying, 'this boy has a special aptitude for drama'. He joined a local dramatic arts group at the age of 11 and quickly set about producing his own play, co-written and directed by his friends, Leah Beattie, Kelly Mitchell and John Rennie. He soon looked around for further opportunities and noticed an advertisement offering scholarships to the Sylvia Young Theatre School. He was among 2,000 children to audition.
After winning the scholarship to the Sylvia Young Theatre School at the age of 12, he went to work appearing in what are now regarded as classic dramas such as Kavanagh Q.C., Silent Witness and Bramwell for example.
Gillies Mackinnon wasted no time in casting him as the lead in the award winning feature film Small Faces alongside Kevin McKidd, Laura Fraser and Claire Higgins which received world wide critical success and earned Iain a Best Performance BAFTA.
Best known for his role as Craig Stevenson in the paranormal drama series Sea of Souls, in its second and third series in 2005 and 2006. Robertson also appeared in a film role in the big screen sequel Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction, alongside Hollywood superstar Sharon Stone, as well as thriller The Contractor with Wesley Snipes. He has also joined the cast of the new series of "Rab C. Nesbitt" returning to the streets of his youth replacing Andrew Farlie as Nesbitt's son Gash. Rab C. Nesbitt creator Ian Pattison has affectionately described Iain as “a hamlet-faced bamette, who when not working ravages around like a wasp trapped in a jar, driven mad by his own bitterness!”
Robertson's most recent release was a feature length film with Simon Callow and Harry Enfield entitled 'Act's of Godfrey', an unusual British comedy written entirely in verse. The film had a limited cinematic release in January 2012 and Robertson gained favourable reviews for the lead role.
He has worked extensively in British theatre, most notably the Millennium production of Bill Bryden's The Mysteries at The Royal National Theatre and alongside Derek Jacobi in Michael Grandage's production of The Tempest at the Old Vic. More recently he appeared as Spanky in the revival of John Byrne's Slab Boys trilogy and as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet at the Citizens' Theatre. In 2009 he starred as Gil Martin in the production of "Confessions of a Justified Sinner" at the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. During the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2010 Robertson received rave reviews for his leading role in D C Jackson's "My Romantic History".
My Romantic History won a fringe first and toured around England, before a sellout run at the Bush Theatre. He also starred in a one man show Angels by Ronan O'Donnell at the successful Play a pie & a pint in Glasgow, where one critic described him as giving 'the performance of a lifetime'. In 2011 he appeared in a revival of The Hard Man, a play concerning the life of the infamous Scottish criminal Jimmy Boyle.
In 2006 Robertson was accused of assault against a photographer in Stirling. Appearing in his defence was Dougray Scott, star of stage and screen - most notably for 'Twin Town' and Mission Impossible 2. Scott was quoted as saying "Iain Robertson was in front of me. I was taken aback slightly by the presence of this photographer being flanked by a police officer. He was to my mind being very aggressive in his attempts to take pictures of either myself or Iain. In my experience of paparazzi, and I've had lots of it, they usually say 'do you mind if I take your photograph, Mr Scott?'. I say 'go ahead', because they're going to anyway. All I saw when I left the shop was this camera thrust forward. Iain took his hat off to put in front of the lens, understandably. The photographer hadn't been polite about asking and Iain, my good friend, puts his hat in front of the lens to stop the rudeness. It lasted a couple of seconds and then Iain got into the van. He added: It would take an extraordinary imagination to call what I saw a punch.Clenching his fist, he said: A punch is a punch and a fist is this.Iain was upset, not angry.. Robertson was found innocent.
The Speyside Sessions
Robertson was involved in the charity project conceived as a love letter to his hometown by actor Kevin McKidd. The photos on the album cover were taken by him and his partner Jessica Clark and Robertson also directed the teaser, narrated by Ewan McGregor which was used to promote the album online.
In an interview for Official London Theatre, Robertson talked about meeting Gillies MacKinnon by accident on the directors first day of casting for Small Faces and the subsequent burden he might have been on the directors shoulders. "I think Gillies feels funny about it because he cast a 13 year old boy in a film who is now hitting 30 and still plugging away at it. There’s not a lot of money in theatre and it’s funny, he feels a kind of responsibility as if it’s his fault that I’m an actor! It’s the other way around, I’m very grateful to him that he took a punt on me. "
In 2006, Robertson explained to The Sunday Times why he was grateful to be cast in Romeo & Juliet at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, “That’s the nice thing about wee Lex from Small Faces playing Romeo,” he says in the luvvie voice. “You get the jakebaws in the audience.”'"
In an interview for TV Bomb in 2011, Robertson seemed to express disdain for the Scottish hard man image. Discussing his performance in The Hard Man he is quoted as saying "I know Boyle’s cousin Frankie Miller very well so I don’t buy into the whole “society made me what I am” because Jimmy Boyle spent all those years in prison whilst Frankie Miller spent those years travelling the world entertaining people. When Boyle was eleven he was breaking into shops whereas Frankie was sitting in his house writing a song called ‘I Can’t Change’ which was covered by Ray Charles, so you can’t blame society for decisions you made yourself.
The BBC press office released an interview, where Iain discussed his relationship with actress Dawn Steele who played Justine in Sea of Souls. "Sometimes I think the guest artists must come in and think we don't like each other, because we can be sat in make-up bickering away and it must look quite odd. We just have a great camaraderie, I suppose. And Bill [Paterson] is great because on screen and off, he's like a father figure that hovers over both of us and breaks up the fights."
Robertson discussed his decision to join the cast of Rab C. Nesbitt with The Scotsman. "One of the questions I had to ask myself, being from Govan, was: 'Is this offensive to where I grew up?'" says Robertson. "And the answer is no, quite the opposite, the show has a big heart, it captures the hope, aspirations and humour of working-class people. Gregor brings something to Nesbitt which takes him beyond this bottom-feeder alcoholic, you can't help but warm to him." He also added "It's an honour to be the one who sets up Rab C's [laughs] for him. For a wee guy from Govan who was never interested in football, that's the equivalent of getting to play for the big team."
- Acts of Godfrey (2010)
- Rab C. Nesbitt (2008) (TV series)
- Next Time Ned (2009)
- The Contractor (2007)
- Basic Instinct 2 (2006)
- Casualty (2005) (TV series)
- Sea of Souls (2004) (TV series)
- One Last Chance (2004)
- Gunpowder, Treason & Plot (2003) (TV series)
- Taggart (2002) (TV series)
- Band of Brothers (2001) (miniseries)
- Watchmen (2001)
- Hereafter (2000) (TV series)
- Fat Chance (2000)
- Homesick (2000)
- Oliver Twist (1999) (miniseries)
- Rebus (1999) (TV series)
- Poached (1998)
- Grange Hill (TV series) (1998)
- Plunkett & Macleane (1998)
- The Match (1998)
- The Debt Collector (1998)
- Bramwell (1998) (TV series)
- Psychos (1998) (TV series)
- Trail By Jury (1997) (TV series)
- The Bill (1997) (TV series)
- Silent Witness (1996) (TV series)
- A Mugs Game (1996) (TV series)
- Bodyguards (1996) (TV series)
- Small Faces (1996)
- Kavanagh QC (1995) (TV series)
Selected theatre credits
- The Mysteries (1999) (Royal National Theatre)
- The Good Hope (2000) (Royal National Theatre)
- Romeo & Juliet (2006) (Citizens Theatre)
- Blood Wedding (2006) (Citizens Theatre)
- The Slab Boys Trilogy (2003) (Traverse Theatre)
- The Winters Tale (2000) (Royal National Theatre)
- The Tempest (2002) (Old Vic/Sheffield Crucible)
- Passing Places (2001) (Greenwich Theatre)
- Strangers, Babies (2006) (Traverse Theatre)
- Small Craft Warnings (2008) (Arcola Theatre)
- Confessions of a Justified Sinner (2009) (Royal Lyceum Theatre)
- My Romantic History (2010) (Bush Theatre)
Selected radio credits
- McLevy: The Blue Gown (2011)
- An Audience with Ed Reardon (2010)
- The Sensitive (2010)
- My Blue Hen (2009)
- The Astronaut (2009)
- Tough Love (2008)
- Jimmy Murphy Makes Amends (2008)
- Rebus - Black & Blue (2008)
- Saturday, Sunday, Monday (2007)
- The Tenderness of Wolves (2007)
- Faust (2006)
- The Best Snow for Skiing (2005)
- Japanese Tales (2004)
- Soft Fall the Sounds of Eden (2004)
- Just Prose (2003)
- The Nativity (2003)
- The Passion (2003)
- The Prisoner of Papa Stour (1996)
- Best Performance Bafta (1996, for Small Faces)
- Best Series Bafta (2005, for Sea of Souls)
- Ian Charleson Commendation (1999, for The Mysteries)
- Ian Charleson 3rd Prize (2002, for The Tempest)
- Edinburgh Fringe First 2010 (2010, for My Romantic History)
- "Iain Robertson". Sunnygovan.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "Iain Robertson". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- [dead link]
- "Interview: Rab C Nesbitt actors Iain Robertson and Cora Bissett". The Scotsman. 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "The Evening Times - Scottish news, Celtic, Rangers and other sport plus fashion, showbiz and opinion". Govan.eveningtimes.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- Masters, Tim (2011-09-27). "BBC News - Acts of Godfrey film is a first for verse". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "Theatre reviews: Confessions Of A Justified Sinner | The Curse Of The Demeter | Memory Cells". The Scotsman. 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "Fallout as two worlds collide ...". Herald Scotland. 2010-08-09. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "Theatre review: My Romantic History at Crucible Studio Theatre, Sheffield". Britishtheatreguide.info. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "Angels | Joyce McMillan - Online". Joycemcmillan.wordpress.com. 2011-09-14. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- [dead link]
- "Seal of souls as star Iain gets wed. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "Biography for Iain Robertson". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "UK | Scotland | Star relieved after friend cleared". BBC News. 2004-02-06. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "DOUGRAY GETS HIS MISSION ACCOMPLISHED; Pal in the clear after star gives evidence. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "Theatre review: Cuttin' A Rug at Traverse, Edinburgh". Britishtheatreguide.info. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "The Match (1999) Movie Review from". Eye for Film. 2001-01-19. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "A wee guy grows up and finds romance". S15.zetaboards.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "The Hardman: Interview: Iain Robertson: King's Theatre: Edinburgh | TVBomb | Film, Music, Theatre Reviews, Previews & Interviews | Edinburgh". TVBomb. 2011-03-24. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "Press Office - Sea Of Souls series three Iain Robertson". BBC. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "BBC Radio 4 - Afternoon Drama, McLevy - Series 8, The Blue Gown". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "BBC Radio 4 - An Audience with Ed Reardon". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-01-03. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "The Sensitive: A Nobody by Alastair Jessiman". Radiodramareviews.com. 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "BBC Radio Scotland - The Blue Hen". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- BBC – Scottish Shorts – The Astronaut
- "BBC Radio 4 - Friday Drama, Tough Love". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-02-15. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- BBC – Afternoon Play – Jimmy Murphy Makes Amends
- "BBC Radio 4 Extra - Ian Rankin - Rebus, Black and Blue, Episode 1". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-08-17. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- BBC – Woman's Hour Drama – The Tenderness of Wolves
- "BBC Radio 3 - Drama on 3, Doctor Faustus". Bbc.co.uk. 2008-06-15. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "The Best Snow For Skiing". Radiolistings.co.uk. 2013-06-06. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "Drama on 3 - Three Japanese Gothic Tales". BBC. 2004-12-26. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "Soft Fall The Sounds Of Eden". Radiolistings.co.uk. 2013-06-06. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "THE NATIVITY National Theatre". Promenade Productions. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "THE PASSION National Theatre". Promenade Productions. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "iainrobertfans - Profile". Iainrobertfans.livejournal.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- Iain Robertson at the Internet Movie Database
- BBC Sea of Souls Website
- The Iain Robertson Community with YouTube links to all of Iain's work
- Newspaper Article
- Interview with Iain Robertson