the hours you have to work and things like having to snog people.’ he says. ‘In this I’ve got to do a couple of sex scenes and she’s fine with it, I think or so she says! It’s my first nude scene. I’m trying not to think about it and I’ll deal with it when I get to it. It’s not that I’m really worried about it. it’s just something that I’ve never done before and it’s a big hurdle. A sick part of me has always wanth to do it just to prove to myself that I can . . .er, I was going to say rise to the occasion.’

If this doesn’t sound like the kind of thing a good Catholic boy should be getting up to, then Holyrood RC Secondary in Glasgow only has itself to blame. When the casting director for Taggart visited his school, the drama teacher bent over backwards to get her star pupil noticed. McFadden landed the part and has been working in television pretty much continuously ever since.

‘Up until recently my mother’s been telling me to get a real job and learn a trade but now she’s started accepting that this is what I’m

‘Up until recently my mother’s been telling me to get a real job and learn a trade but now she’s started accepting

that this is what I’m doing.’

doing.’ he says. ‘My parents are from Donegal and l was brought up with Irish values. Even if I don’t live up to them, they do expect me to be just like they were 30 years ago in Ireland; things like not being out too late and going to mass. which I don’t do very much of now. My mum understands that I’m so busy that Sunday is my only day off and she knows the last thing I want to do is spend an hour in chapel.’ Missing mass may be about the extent of McFadden’s teenage rebellion. On set he is regarded as a real pro for such a young actor and in person he is charmingly shy, with an endearing habit of covering his mouth with his hands in moments of embarrassment. He

doesn’t look like he’s about to lose that Peter Pan tag any time soon.

The Crow Road is planned for transmission in the autumn on BBC2.






i words and the small screen

Scottish writer Iain Banks has carved a formidable reputation on British bookshelves. Now his work is destined for the small screen and he’s got a new novel out. He speaks to Thom Dibdin.

ain Banks, acclaimed author of some of

the most coolly and calculatedly violent

fiction in recent years Scottish or

otherwise - is excited about the prospect

of The Crow Road making it onto the

small screen. ‘Hey! My own mini series!’ Yet despite the smattering of grey in his ginger beard, the twinkle in his eye betrays his ironic inflection: the youthful pride in his achievement is decidedly real.

Currently being filmed by the BBC. The Crow Road is not Banks’s first work to inch towards the screen. Several years ago he sold an option on his first novel The Wasp Factory to an Irish film production company, and his thriller Complicity has also been optioned. While Banks is quite happy to let the professionals get on with theirjob at the BBC, the situation with The Wasp Factory is far from happy.

‘I always wanted to avoid the book being made into a Hollywood movie.’ says Banks. Hence The Wasp Factory’s sale in Ireland and Banks’s annoyance when the company was bought with half the seven-year option still to run. ‘An American company took it over and the script is an American movie,‘ he says with disgust. ‘It is set in Maine and the opening scene is in a box car.’

Although Banks can’t sue over the treatment of his work, he is involved in legal action in an attempt to win back the rights to the novel. Back in Fife, Banks has completed a new science fiction novel, Excession, the fourth to feature his post-scarcity utOpia known as The Culture.

As with all of Banks’s science fiction work, he has used the warning initial ‘M’ to scare off those literary purists who find the genre beneath their dignity. While this may exclude a few people, there are still plenty of fans who know that when Iain M. is writing about The Culture, they are not getting a lesser a side of him,just a more entertaining one with a healthy dose of quirky humour and space opera shenanigans.

‘I wouldn’t say it was self preservation, but I got a lot of people coming up to me and saying: “When’s the next Culture book?”,’ says Banks. Although he became concerned that he was becoming self-indulgent and stopped writing about it for a while, he is more than happy to return.

‘I like writing about The Culture,’ he says. ‘That’s where I want to live, that’s my utopia. It’s what I want to go home in. Besides, I got to write vast amounts of silly starship names, which was definitely one of the criteria for writing the novel bugger artistic integrity. My

P, v _ h \i ' .Qk’ I ~ ' ii:- \. .

‘I like writing about The Culture. That’s where I want to live, that’s my utopia. It’s what I want to go home In.’

favourite was the Psychopath Class starship Frank Exchange Of Views.’

Not that Excessimz is all strange names. Of the two main strands to the novel, the first concerns the excession itself. an outside interference, in which Banks explores what might happen when a sophisticated civilisation is confronted by something completely beyond its ken. The second strand discusses the rights and wrongs of interfering. The bonafide l920$ sci-fi aliens which Banks introduces will leave fans giggling and purists gagging, but the way in which The Culture copes with their casual cruelty has echoes of the United Nation’s problems with the tribes of Yugoslavia, Burundi or Rwanda.

Which is not to put too much emphasis on the

serious side of Excession. Like all Banks’s work, it is entertainment as much for himself as for his readers. ‘Apart from anything else,’ he says, ‘I like lots of big explosions, slamming lots of large structures together and breaking them up.’ Excession by Iain M. Banks is published by Orbit at £15.99. The author is at Waterstone ’s, 116 Union Street, Glasgow on Friday 21 June at 7pm and at James Thin, 53—59 South Bridge, Edinburgh on Friday 21 June at 1pm.

The List 14-27 Jun l99615