TAGGART star Alex Norton is hitting the road with his first tour named after his autobiography to give audiences across Scotland an uproariously funny and highly entertaining insight into the ups and downs of life as a professional actor.
Since his first steps on stage, Norton’s career has been both highly colourful and eventful beyond his wildest dreams and There’s Been A Life – An Evening With Alex Norton will take fans on an irreverent journey behind the scenes of a showbiz life well lived when it opens on March 16 at Paisley Arts Centre and closes on March 27 at the Hemelvaart Bier Cafe, Ayton, Berwickshire.
From early childhood in Glasgow’s Gorbals to Hollywood, Norton’s life has been a rollercoaster ride and the screen veteran has appeared in everything from Gregory’s Girl and Local Hero to Braveheart and Pirates of the Caribbean. He has also worked with Billy Connolly and Chick Murray and a host of British stars such as Dudley Moore and Rowan Atkinson.
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However, the 67-year-old, who grew up in Glasgow’s south side, made an lasting mark on British TV when he starred as DCI Matt Burke in the STV police drama Taggart, then went on to other successful roles as Eric Baird in BBC Two sitcom Two Doors Down, DCS Wallace in Extremely Dangerous, Gerald Finlay in Waterloo Road and Eddie in the Renford Rejects. He discovered acting at the age of 14 via an out-of-school drama group and this led to his part in the TV series Dr Finlay’s Casebook but Norton decided to avoid the traditional route into acting and instead worked from part to part. In 1973 he became one of the founder members of the 7:84 company, touring Scotland with The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black Black Oil.
Audiences will hear stories about how Norton nearly managed to kill Clint Eastwood on a movie shoot in Africa, had whale for dinner with Jon Voight in Moscow, played Captain Bellamy alongside Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest as well as life behind the scenes on crime drama Taggart.
Norton got his passion for talking to live audiences without a script when he launched his autobiography in 2014 and attended a series of book festivals but he didn’t do anything about it until recently when he was contacted by promoter Alyson Orr and he thought “it’s now or never”.
He said: “My autobiography got published a few years back and I got invited to book festivals. It was a whole new world to me doing stuff like that and it consisted of me going on the stage being asked questions and talking about bits from the book and I really loved it.
“I had such a good time and the audience seemed to enjoy it, the stories went down well, especially the funny bits. I thought to myself that this is something I should maybe be doing – to have a wee show I could put on at the drop of a hat. It was in my mind for a while but didn’t do anything about it until Alyson got in touch and said she had heard I was thinking about this. She said she puts together these little tours and would I be interested in her producing it for me and I thought, why not – it’s now or never. So, I said ‘Yes, on you go’.”
The show lasts about one hour and 15 minutes and Norton is putting together audio visual material with clips of highlights of his career to accompany the evening’s storytelling.