TV

Gregor Fisher: Rab C Nesbitt is a Greek tragedy

Whether it's Rab C Nesbitt or a 100-year-old granny, Gregor Fisher still gets to eat a fish supper...

A lot of politicians and the media were nurturing a negative image of Scots in the run-up to the election. How much is Rab C Nesbitt responsible for the Scottish stereotype?

For a start, I don’t think he’s a stereotype. When Rab was on television, the bulk of the audience was in the south, by many millions. When we were polling six million figures, five million would be in the south.

But Rab is an easy caricature if you do not properly know the character.

You could walk down a street in New York and you’d see Rab. He may be a different colour but he’s unmistakable, the little guy who is struggling to survive, albeit in a semi-alcoholic haze at times. I think Rab was performing in Greek theatre. In this incarnation he just happens to be Scottish. He’s archetypal but not stereotypical.

rab

Do you feel that actors should use their platform to share their political views?

I don’t think that just because I happen to have been in a lot of people’s living rooms on a regular basis that gives me the right to spout forth on politics. I never talk to the big papers about politics.

But you can tell me how you voted?

Well, I don’t have a vote. I live in France. I did watch the independence referendum with fascination from a distance.

Who do you vote for in France?

I’m not a French citizen so I don’t get a vote there either! But I think I can vote for my local mayor.

What do you think about the divisions that politicians have created within the UK?

I’m married to an English lady, technically I have two English sons and a Scottish daughter. It’s twaddle.

The world we live in needs to be more united rather than more fractured.

I’m with you on that and that’s about as political as my answer’s going to get.

You’ve returned to these shores for the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Yer Granny.

I’m playing a 100-year-old grandmother with a voracious appetite who is eating the family out of house and home. I suppose if I was going to be the wanky actor I’d say it is allegorical. It’s an adaptation of a play written at the time of the Argentinian junta, which doesn’t make it sound like a highly entertaining night in the theatre but above all it’s funny.

Is it a role that requires method acting, eating a lot of fish and chips?

No but I eat fish suppers anyway.

Where’s your favourite?

Mario’s Plaice, halfway down Byres Road in Glasgow. I had lunch there today and it was as good as ever.

You’ve had plenty of jobs where you have to eat and drink nasty things. Are you ever offered roles where you have to eat caviar or lobster?

Funnily enough I’ve never been in a show like that. I’m usually on some Dickens thing for the BBC eating pigs’ trotters or something.

The Dickens adaptations, Rab C Nesbitt and Yer Granny – as well as being entertaining they are social commentaries. Is that what gets you involved?

Most good pieces of theatre or TV are based on a reality. If you can’t appreciate what a character is going through – the highs and lows of their lives – then you are less likely to laugh and cry with them. To make that connection there’s got to be a huge slice of honesty. Did that sound like a wanky actor?

Is it possible to be an actor and not be a bit wanky?

When you’re asked to analyse what you’re doing… it’s difficult.

Yer Granny is currently touring Scotland

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