John Gordon Sinclair quits acting to become writer

THE star of one of Scotland’s best-loved comedies has revealed he wants to turn his back on performing - to concentrate on crime writing in his garden shed.

John Gordon Sinclair is to give up acting and focus on his crime writing

John Gordon Sinclair, who shot to fame in the 1980s classic Gregory’s Girl, says he is ready to quit acting after becoming disillusioned with the profession

And he said his current role performing in a West End production of Jeeves and Wooster could be his last ever appearance, revealing he had come “very close” to turning it down.

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Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Glasgow-born Sinclair said he had “never been comfortable” acting and was “mildly insulted” if someone called him an actor now.

The 52-year-old, who was an apprentice electrician when he left school, was plucked from obscurity by director Bill Forsyth and offered the lead role in Gregory’s Girl. But Sinclair refused to mention the iconic film by name during his festival appearance.

Sinclair, who went on to forge a successful stage and screen career, including roles in another hit Forsyth comedy, Local Hero, John Byrne’s TV drama Your Cheatin’ Heart and the West End musical She Loves Me, which earned him an Olivier Award.

However he told his book festival audience that writing the two books he has had published in the last two years had convinced him to pursue a full-time career as a novelist.

Asked whether he was prepared to give up his acting career, he said: “Absolutely, 100 per cent. At the moment, it is 50/50 but ultimately I would love to just be writing books.

“It’s given me more satisfaction than anything else I’ve done.

“I have a very strange relationship with acting. I feel mildly insulted if someone calls me an actor.

“I don’t actually get an awful lot out of it, I don’t really enjoy it that much. It’s a terrible thing to admit to.

“I’ve never been comfortable with it. I quite enjoy learning a script and getting on stage, but it makes me very uncomfortable.

“I don’t like discussing the process. When I hear actors talking about it I switch the television off. I’m just not that interested in that side of things. I’m not interested in the attention. I just don’t get a lot out of it.”

Sinclair, who moved to London in the early 1980s after the success of Gregory’s Girl, said he had originally turned to writing after deciding to stay at home to bring up his two daughters.

Sinclair, whose new book is about a prostitute on the run in Glasgow from a Serbian gang leader, revealed he had recently built a shed in his garden so he could fully concentrate on his writing career.

He added: “When I sat down and started writing I suddenly found something that I wanted to do, which at fifty made me a bit of a late starter.

“I didn’t want to be one of those people who said ‘I’m writing a book.’ I didn’t really keep it a secret, I just didn’t tell anyone I was doing it.

“I think people are capable of doing anything they set their mind to. The only difference between me and somebody wanting to write a book is that I did it. If you want to write a book sit down and do it, don’t just talk about it.”