The Lowdown: Things You Never Knew About Robert Carlyle

October 7, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Features

Robert Carlyle is landing back on our screens this week as maths extraordinaire, Dr Nicholas Rush, in Sky1’s brand new series, Stargate Universe.

Amazingly, we have to wait until nearly half-way through the second episode for him to start lecturing the other cast members on the trials of a childhood in working-class Glasgow.

However when he’s not waxing lyrical about the ship-yard, he is doing some good acting and adds a nice British flavour to a very slick American sci-fi.

So we decided to grant him the honour of an OTB lowdown. The timing was perfect.


1. About a year before being cast in the role of Dr Rush, Carlyle approached television companies in Los Angeles asking them if they had anything going. They offered him several parts, but he chose Stargate Universe. Rumours that TV bosses were only so kind because they had just finished watching Trainspotting are said to be untrue.

2. To prepare for playing Hitler in a television mini-series, he listened to the entire works of Richard Wagner (Hitler’s favourite racist composer) – that’s a lot of opera.

3. Carlyle was inspired to get into acting after buying a copy of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, with a birthday gift voucher at the age of 21. It’s probably a good job he didn’t see the film starring Winona Ryder.

4. Who can forget his appearance as Renard, the smallest Bond villain since Nick Nack, in The World Is Not Enough? Following an earlier attempt on his life by MI6, Carlyle’s character was left with a bullet lodged in his brain. After murdering the doctor who saved his life, the terrorist was informed that the bullet would gradually kill him, but would kill off his senses until that day, effectively making him immune to pain. Of course it would.

5. The Scottish actor supports Rangers Football Club.

6. Carlyle featured in the music video for the 2002 Oasis song, “Little by Little”, which bemoaned the fact that the Labour government had lost its way.

7. It took him six years and an illegal war before he eventually ditched the party, and in June 2008, the actor let it be known that he would be voting for the Scottish Nationalist Party for the first time.

8. His portrayal of Francis Begbie in the 1996 smash Trainspotting, is arguably the most curse-ridden in British film history. One of his most infamous lines was: “It was f****n’ obvious that that c**t was gonnae f**k some c**t.? Swear jar anybody?

9. He was raised by his father, Joe, and has not seen his estranged mother, Liz McDonald, since he was four years old.

10. Carlyle was ranked seventh in the 2001 Orange Film Survey of greatest British actors.


Sean Marland