Gregory’s Girl and Still Game star Jake D’Arcy dies

Jake D'Arcy, left, with Dee Hepburn and director Bill Forsyth on the set of Gregory's Girl. The 1981 romantic comedy was a surprise hit around the world. Photograph: Kobal

Jake D'Arcy, left, with Dee Hepburn and director Bill Forsyth on the set of Gregory's Girl. The 1981 romantic comedy was a surprise hit around the world. Photograph: Kobal

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TRIBUTES poured in yesterday following the death of ­Gregory’s Girl actor Jake D’Arcy.

The Scot was best known for playing an awkward PE teacher in the hit coming-of-age ­romantic comedy, and for his role as Pete the Jakey in the BBC Scotland sitcom Still Game.

The accomplished actor also starred in many Scottish TV shows including Rab C Nesbitt, Tutti Frutti, Hamish Macbeth and Taggart.

Scottish celebrities, including former co-stars, yesterday paid tribute to the “great actor” and “lovely man”, whose career stretched back to the early 1970s. Still Game actor and writer Greg Hemphill said D’Arcy would be “hugely missed”.

One of D’Arcy’s best-loved roles was in the 1981 Bill Forsyth film Gregory’s Girl, in which he played teacher and football coach Phil Menzies, who struggles to accept that his star striker, played by Dee Hepburn, was a girl. The film was a surprise hit around the world and made household names of some of the stars, including leading actors John Gordon Sinclair and Clare ­Grogan.

Commenting on D’Arcy’s career, film critic Siobhan Synnot said: “I used to enjoy spotting him in dramas like The Little Vampire, Tutti Frutti and Beautiful Creatures, and more recently Still Game. He first registered with me, and most other people as Phil the ­harassed football coach in ­Gregory’s Girl.

“Phil is as awkward in the adult world as Gregory is in the world of girls and romance. It’s still a cherishable piece of work. D’Arcy is very funny in a sequence where Phil has grown a moustache that he facies might make him look more grown up. Best of all, there’s an impromptu dressing room training session involving Dorothy and Mr Menzies which becomes a spontaneous dance routine.

“It may remind some of Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande à Part. It reminds me how a ­subtle comic actor like D’Arcy can transform a tiny bit of ­business and make it ­memorable.”

Although he was best known for his comedy roles, D’Arcy also took on serious parts, including Robbie in A Sense of Freedom, John Mackenzie’s 1979 film about Glasgow gangster-turned-sculptor Jimmy Boyle.

He was also praised for his performance in the 2014 film What We Did On Our Holiday, starring David Tennant.

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