After steamrollering the hearts of British viewers as Fitz in Cracker, ROBBIE COLTRANE is big and getting bigger. Just don’t say that to his face.

Words: Brian Donaldson

8 THE “81' 12—25 Sept 1997

‘DO YOU LIKE seeing yourself on screen'?’ enquires a keen radio journalist.

‘No. it’s quite scary. really.‘

‘Do you think your physical presence helps in your career‘?’ she asks.

A pause. A sigh. ‘I don’t really like the area this is getting into.‘

‘Do you mind if I ask you about Scottish devolution‘.” she tries.

‘Nah. I’m not going to take questions like that. l have my own views but I’ll just keep them to myself.‘

This is one side of Robbie Coltrane. Ask him about something he really doesn’t want to enter into dialogue about and you‘ll get nowhere fast with little hope of retrieving the situation. He is aware and wary. Sceptical and scary.

The other side is the genial bloke who

holds press conferences in his palm with wit. warmth and a staggering variety of dialects at his disposal. I sense his favourite is the Yankee draw] but he moves into Latino. through cockney and off into deepest Morningside with consummate ease.

The Big Man. as you have to call him. is back with a string of projects about to be unleashed on a suspecting public anxious for his. I’ll say it. larger than life presence after the Hong Kong finale of TV ltit series C rat/(er.

Coltrane has swapped the sphere of serial murderers. mortuary slabs and slashed jttgulars for the world of engineering. Yeah. I know. not particularly sexy. But in the hands of Robbie. Coltrane Is“ Planes And Automobiles is a skilful and humorous look at the history of the engine. The Channel 4 series will chart the