The Skinny on... Grant Stott
What better way to celebrate the return of panto season than with a Q&A with Scottish pantomime stalwart Grant Stott?
What’s your favourite place to visit?
Tenerife. For the last few years we've bookended the panto with a quick week in Tenerife for a bit of winter sun. I've really missed it over the pandemic. It's a place where I can truly unwind and relax, so perfect after a hectic panto season.
What's your favourite food?
Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you how obsessive I am about Chinese food. I love nothing more than getting a takeaway or going to one of the many fabulous restaurants in Edinburgh. Especially the Kweilin.
What's your favourite colour?
I would have to opt immediately for green for the Hibs, but also of late purple has a great significance for me and for those who knew and loved Andy Gray [Grant's long-time panto cast-mate who sadly passed earlier this year] and my pinkie nail will be painted purple (a tradition Andy started) in his memory throughout the panto this season.
Who was your hero growing up?
My dad. He's just a normal working bloke who loved socialising, and I learned from him the value of true friends and life-long friendship – it's something that he and I now share. He had the same group of friends for many years and it's the same for me, and he gets a real buzz out of hanging out with me and my school friends.
Whose work inspires you now?
Andy Gray – from having watched him as a kid in the 80s in Naked Video and City Lights to having worked with him in panto for so many years, he'd be the guy I'd think of now as my biggest inspiration. I've taken his example into what I do now.
What three people would you invite to your dinner party and what are you cooking?
My cooking skills are limited but I pride myself on my ability to cook a curry – there may well be a jar which features but I enhance it! My three guests would be Billy Connolly – no reason needed, Miriam Margolyes – because I love her stories – and Chris Evans – my radio hero.
What’s your all time favourite album?
Donald Fagen's The Nightfly. My number one go-to album when trying out new audio equipment or wanting to hear some really great production. I've had it on vinyl, on CD, streamed it and now I've bought it on vinyl all over again. It's a masterclass in production, songwriting and performance – I just love it.
What’s the worst film you’ve ever seen?
The Boondock Saints. My friend Eddie bigged this film up so much and we sat down to watch it and it was two hours of my life I'll never get back again.
What book would you take to a desert island?
Jock Tamson's bairns – a family favourite. It came out in the 1970s, a book where Scottish authors were asked to write about their childhood and one of them wrote about my Dad so that gave me a real insight into his childhood which is amazing.
When did you last cry?
This week in rehearsals as we got to a very emotional part of the panto rehearsals which is a tribute to our great friend Andy.
What are you most scared of?
Losing people who are close to me. It's happened too many times in recent years and I just don't want it to happen any more.
When did you last vomit and why?
[Laughs] I honestly cannot remember the last time I chucked up – years ago. Just because I was ill – no exciting story.
Tell us a secret?
I could tell you a storyline in River City that's about to happen to my character Sam Spiller. If it was up to me I would tell you but I'd get in trouble with the story writers so I better avoid that question.
Which celebrity could you take in a fight?
I'm not a great fighter – I've only been in about two fights in my life and I don't think I would be co-ordinated enough to throw a successful string of punches... but if I was going to have a square go with any celebrity... confidently I reckon I could probably take Joe Pasquale.
If you could be reincarnated as an animal, which animal would it be?
It would be our family dog because she really has a wonderful life and she gets what she wants every single day.
What's your favourite Christmas song?
So many as I love, love, love Christmas songs. Cold December Night by Michael Bublé, One More Sleep by Leona Lewis – I know these are really cheesy but I just love Christmas. The one I would probably go for Matchbox, Over the Rainbow/You Belong To Me – which isn't a Christmas song but was in the charts at Christmas and reminds me of being a young kid and decorating my bedroom.
What was your highlight of 2021?
Joining River City has been not just a highlight of 2021 but a career highlight, a long-held ambition.
What are your hopes for 2022?
That we continue getting back to society as it was before the pandemic in terms of theatre and live events in a slow and safe way. I hope 2022 sees more light on the horizon.
Grant Stott appears in Sleeping Beauty, King's Theatre, Edinburgh, until 16 Jan, tickets from £19