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Iain Cuthbertson

john cuthbertson obituary, iain cuthbertson
Iain Cuthbertson 4 January 1930 – 4 September 2009 was a Scottish character actor At 6' 4", he was known for his tall imposing build and also his distinctive "gravelly" heavily accented voice


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Theatre career
  • 3 Television career
  • 4 Personal life
  • 5 Filmography
  • 6 Radio
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Early life

Born and brought up in Glasgow, he was educated at Glasgow Academy, Aberdeen Grammar and the University of Aberdeen where he graduated with a MA Honours in French and Spanish His first break as an actor was on radio while studying at Aberdeen University

He spent two years' national service in the Black Watch During that time he was ordered to act as prisoner's friend at the court martial of a soldier accused of appearing late on parade, and then assaulting his superior officer when he eventually did turn up He managed to get the soldier cleared of the more serious charge The soldier's comment afterwards was "Thanks awfully fur pretendin ah didnae dae it sur"

His original wish was for a job in the Foreign Office, but he became a radio journalist with the BBC in Glasgow

Theatre career

Cuthbertson started acting at the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre in 1958 and became General Manager and Director of Productions in 1962 In that year the theatre hosted an exhibition of work by the artist Stewart Bowmn Johnson Three years later he became Associate Director of London's Royal Court Theatre

Television career

His most memorable television role was as the eponymous Procurator Fiscal in the long running Sutherland's Law A rather different but more minor achievement was his portrayal of the criminal and businessman Charlie Endell in both Budgie London Weekend Television/ITV with Adam Faith 1971–72 and its sequel Charles Endell Esquire Scottish Television/ITV in 1979

Sutherland's Law is a television series made by BBC Scotland between 1973 and 1976

The series had originated as a stand-alone edition of the portmanteau programme Drama Playhouse in 1972 in which Derek Francis played Sutherland and was then commissioned as an ongoing series The producer was Frank Cox

Sutherland's Law dealt with the duties of the Procurator Fiscal in a small Scottish town The major cast members included Iain Cuthbertson as John Sutherland, Gareth Thomas, Moultrie Kelsall, Victor Carin, Martin Cochrane, Maev Alexander and Edith MacArthur

Other roles include the lead in The Borderers BBC, 1968–70, Tom Brown's Schooldays BBC, 1971 as Thomas Arnold, The Stone Tape BBC, 1972, Children of the Stones HTV/ITV, 1977, The Voyage of Charles Darwin, Danger UXB Thames Television/ITV, 1979, The House With Green Shutters BBC, 1980 He appeared in the pilot episode of Rab C Nesbitt 1988 as a magistrate

He suffered a crippling stroke in January 1982, which forced him to give up theatre for fear of forgetting his lines He resumed television and film work, though, as his lines could be written on crib boards His first role following his stroke was as the villainous Scunner Campbell in Super Gran Tyne Tees Television/ITV, 1985 In 1989 he played the villain Brett Savernake in the episode of Campion entitled "Sweet Danger"

Minor parts in ongoing series include appearances in Z-Cars BBC, The Avengers ABC/ITV, Inspector Morse Central Television/ITV, Bulman Granada Television/ITV, Ripping Yarns BBC, The Duchess of Duke Street, Colonel Mannering in Adam Adamant Lives! story D For Destruction 1966 and Garron in the Doctor Who story The Ribos Operation He also appeared in: Diamond Crack Diamond, The Onedin Line BBC, Survivors BBC, Scotch on the Rocks, Black Beauty London Weekend/ITV, Minder ITV, The Ghosts of Motley Hall Granada/ITV, Juliet Bravo BBC, Casualty BBC, The Mourning Brooch, Casting the Runes and McPhee the Mother and Me

On film, he appeared as Charles Waterbury in The Railway Children 1970

Personal life

Cuthbertson's first marriage, to Anne Kristen in 1964, was dissolved in 1988 He is survived by his second wife, Janet Smith

From 1975 to 1978, he served as Rector of the University of Aberdeen He listed his hobbies as sailing and fishing, and, after retiring, he lived in Dalrymple, Ayrshire

He suffered a severe stroke in 1982, which caused paralysis down one side of his body and speech loss It took him almost two years to recover sufficiently to be able to act again Although he avoided live theatre work thereafter, due to a fear of forgetting and/or stumbling on lines, he was still able to take parts in films and TV


  • The Railway Children 1970 - Charles Waterbury
  • Up the Chastity Belt 1972 - Teutonic Knight
  • Scotch on the Rocks 1973 - Chief Con Blair
  • John Wycliffe: The Morning Star 1984 - Chancellor Rigg
  • The Assam Garden 1985 - Arthur
  • Gorillas in the Mist 1988 - Dr Louis Leakey
  • Scandal 1989 - Lord Hailsham
  • Let Him Have It 1991 - Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe
  • Chasing the Deer 1994 - Tullibardine
  • The Tichborne Claimant 1998 - Dr McKechnie
  • Strictly Sinatra 2001 - Connolly


  • 1981 Hatter's Castle as James Brodie; by A J Cronin; BBC R4 Classic Serial 5 parts 11/1/1981-8/11/1981
  • 1988 Our Roman Cousins by Bruce Stewart; BBC R4 Saturday Night Theatre 30/01/1988
  • 1993 Twelfth Night as Malvolio; BBC R3 3/1/1993


  1. ^ "Obituary: Iain Cuthbertson" Scotsmancom Retrieved 26 January 2018 
  2. ^ Sunday Post 1973
  3. ^ a b Gray, Sadie "Obituary - The Times" The Times 
  4. ^ "Citizens Theatre" Citzcouk 1945-09-11 Retrieved 2012-12-25 
  5. ^ Custom byline text:  Chris Watt 2009-09-08 "Tributes as actor Iain Cuthbertson dies aged 79" Herald Scotland Retrieved 2012-12-25 
  6. ^ "Iain Cuthbertson: Actor who played the procurator-fiscal in 'Sutherland's Law' and Charlie Endell in 'Budgie'" The Independent London 11 September 2009 
  7. ^ "The House With The Green Shutters" Ftvdbbfiorguk 2009-04-16 Retrieved 2012-12-25 
  8. ^ Evans, Jeff 1995 The Guinness Television Encyclopedia Guinness Publishing Ltd p 506 ISBN 0-85112-744-4 
  9. ^ a b Gaughan, Gavin 11 September 2009 "Iain Cuthbertson - Scottish actor - Obituary" The Guardian Retrieved 26 January 2018 
  10. ^ "Radio Plays 1945-1997: Serials, DIVERSITY website - radio drama, plays" Suttonelmsorguk Retrieved 2012-12-25 
  11. ^ "Bruce Stewart radio drama - DIVERSITY WEBSITE" Suttonelmsorguk Retrieved 2012-12-25 
  12. ^ "BBC Radio 7 - Shakespeare - Twelfth Night" Bbccouk 2011-01-06 Retrieved 2012-12-25 

External links

  • Iain Cuthbertson on IMDb
Academic offices
Preceded by
Michael Barratt
Rector of the University of Aberdeen
Succeeded by
Sandy Gall

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