His big break came when he killed a copper in Cracker; now ROBERT CARLYLE is wearing the uniform in a new comedy drama about a Highland bobby. Eddie Gibb joins the actor on his beat

6 The List 24 Mar-6 Apr 1995

he expression ‘written all over his t’acc‘

could have been coined for this guy: the

wrinkles on his forehead form a

shorthand scribble for lines that were

never in the script. In his latest role as PC Macbeth, Robert Carlyle may not sport stripes on his sleeve, but the chevrons of a chief inspector march up his brow.

Carlyle’s knack of saying one thing. while raising a quizzical eyebrow to suggest another meaning altogether is the making of Hamish Macbeth. Without him. it could so easily have turned out to be Heartbeat meets Whisky Galore. The very name, Hamish Macbeth a joke, right? It’s the name you’d give the plucky Scotsman in a wartime escape movie; hardly any

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better than calling him Jock. (Actually, in this series it’s the dog that’s called Jock.)

Carlyle has done this trick before, bringing joke Scotsmen to life. Remember Nosty, the post-apocalyptic Pict who lives rough under the arches in Antonia Bird’s bleak slice of street- life, Safe. Swigging super-lager and wearing a manky kilt over the standard crusty uniform of para-boots and combat trousers, Nosty was a fringe character who was written in to underscore the links between homelessness, madness and violence. But Robert Carlyle is an actor who doesn’t know the meaning of the words ‘bit part’ he spent several days sleeping out to get in character, and as a result was totally convincing. When the self-mutilating Nosty