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Tam Dean Burn

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Tam Dean Burn
Born1958 (age 65–66)
Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland
Alma materQueen Margaret University
Political partyCommunist Party of Great Britain

Tam Dean Burn (born 1958 in Leith, Scotland) is a Scottish actor who has played a wide range of roles on stage and screen. On television this includes multiple roles on long-running detective series Taggart, youth sci-fi thriller Life Force,[1] and on BBC Scotland's soap opera River City, where he played gangster Thomas McCabe.[2] Burn currently performs as a featured lead singer alongside Scars.

Education and family[edit]

He trained in acting at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. He is the brother of drummer Russell Burn, of Edinburgh band The Fire Engines. Both played together in the band The Dirty Reds.


In the 1992 General Election, he contested the Glasgow Central seat, standing for the Communist Party of Great Britain (PCC). He received 106 votes, 0.4% of all votes cast, and finished last.[3][4]

Acting career[edit]

His theatrical roles include being the narrator of the 2009 play Year of the Horse, about artist Harry Horse.[5] He starred on stage in Irvine Welsh's Headspace, in 1997.[6] In 2016 he played Captain Edgar in August Strindberg's Dance of Death at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow.[citation needed] In 2018 he narrated Tommy Smith's jazz version of Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofieff with text specially adapted by Liz Lochhead. The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra recorded the piece live on 24 February 2018 at Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland. Since 2006, Burn has been the authentic 'Leither' voice narrating the audiobook versions of 18 of Irvine Welsh’s books.

Charity work[edit]

He is also involved in work for young people. In 2014, he toured Scotland by bicycle, reading all 195 of Julia Donaldson's stories to children.[7][8] He has campaigned to protect the Children's Wood in Kelvinside, Glasgow from property developers.[9]

2019 stabbing[edit]

In March 2019, Burn was stabbed during an assault after appearing at an event at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh.[10]


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Local Hero Roddy
1995 3 The Elder
1996 The Leading Man Henry
1998 The Acid House Alec (segment "A Soft Touch")
1999 Miss Julie Servant
1999 Mauvaise Passe Naked Husband
2002 Doctor Sleep Gas Man
2003 Skagerrak Dr. Meisling
2003 Young Adam Black Street Barman
2011 Perfect Sense Husband at Grave
2011 War Horse Medic in Trench
2012 Shell Trucker
2012 Riot on Redchurch Street Jerry Graff
2013 City of Tales The Officer
2016 Moon Dogs Davey
2018 Outlaw King John Macdougall of Argyll
2018 Only You Mike
2019 The Victim TV series


  1. ^ "Credits". life-force.co.uk. Archived from the original on 7 March 2001. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  2. ^ Beverley Lyons (20 September 2012). "Ten years of River City revealed". Daily Record. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Fortitude actor Tam Dean Burn 'stabbed' after poetry event | UK News | Sky News". News.sky.com. 3 March 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  4. ^ Conrad, Jack. "Election 92". In the Enemy Camp: Using parliament for revolution. November Publications. p. 69. ISBN 1874123047.
  5. ^ "Tam Dean Burn wants to restore Harry Horse's reputation as an artist after the controversy over his death. But won't his show reopen old wounds?". The Scotsman. 12 February 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  6. ^ Spencer, Charles (19 July 1997). "A Headstate you wouldn't care to be in". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 26 February 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  7. ^ KELLY APTER (9 June 2014). "Tam Dean Burn burning up the miles to tell stories". The Scotsman. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  8. ^ David Pollack (11 June 2014). "Tam Dean Burn set to take on Julia Donaldson's ouvre in The Marathon Storytelling Cycle Challenge". The List. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  9. ^ Kelly Apter (27 May 2016). "Nature Festival at The Children's Wood". The List. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Actor Tam Dean Burn stabbed after poetry event - BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. 3 March 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2019.

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