Kenneth Campbell “Ken” Stott is a Scottish actor best known for his role in the play ‘Broken Glass.’ In his more than four-decade-long career, he has been equally active in all mediums of performing arts. Originally from Edinburgh, Stott was a son of two educators. He developed an interest in acting quite early in his life and studied at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. He began his career on stage performing for the Royal Shakespeare Company. However, he had to work as a double glazing salesman to support himself as his earning was meagre in the initial days of his career. He made his screen debut in an episode of the BBC show ‘Secret Army’ in 1977. His cinematic debut came about a decade later, in the 1988 crime-drama thriller film ‘For Queen & Country’. In the ensuing years, he has portrayed Edward 'Eddie' McKenna in the BBC miniseries ‘Takin' Over the Asylum’, DI John Rebus in the crime fiction-mystery series ‘Rebus’, DCI Red Metcalfe in ‘Messiah’, the dwarf Balin in ‘The Hobbit’ film trilogy, and Ian Garrett in the BBC mini-series ‘The Missing’.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on October 19, 1954, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Ken Stott is the son of Antonia (née Sansica) and David Stott. His Sicilian mother was a lecturer while his Scottish father worked as a teacher and educational administrator.
He studied at George Heriot's School and was part of a musical group named Keyhole along with future members of the popular 1970s pop-rock band Bay City Rollers.
Stott received training at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London and started acting on stage for the Royal Shakespeare Company. However, he was not earning enough money from acting gigs at the time and had to find a job as a double glazing salesman to support himself. His real-life struggles were reflected in the character he portrays in 'Takin' Over the Asylum'.
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Ken Stott’s early works as an actor were exclusively on stage. One of his memorable performances from those days was as the protagonist in the dramatization of Dominic Behan's play about the Northern Ireland troubles, ‘The Folk Singer’, at Belfast Lyric Theatre.
In 1977, Stott appeared on the small screen for the first time, portraying a character named Baroja in an episode of the BBC show ‘Secret Army’. He was featured in the 1983 telefilm ‘The Beggar’s Opera’.
In his first cinematic work, ‘For Queen & Country’ (1988), he worked with the likes of Denzel Washington, Dorian Healy, and Sean Chapman.
In 1994, he starred opposite a young David Tennant in the Scottish BBC miniseries ‘Takin' Over the Asylum’. His character, Edward 'Eddie' McKenna, is an alcoholic double glazing salesman and an aspiring disc jockey, who meets a variety of people with various mental illnesses at his work at a hospital.
Stott played the character of DI John Rebus in the ITV crime-drama show ‘Rebus’ from 2006 to 2007. The character had been initially portrayed by John Hannah in the first series (2000) of the show.
From 2001 to 2005, he portrayed DCI Red Metcalfe in the first four series of the BBC One crime-drama show ‘Messiah’. It revolves around Stott’s character, who often investigates gruesome murders. Michelle Forbes played his on-screen wife, Susan Metcalfe, who is deaf. Both Stott and Forbes learned British Sign Language so their characters could communicate with each other.
He played the minor antagonist Marius Honorius in the 2004 historical action film ‘King Arthur’. A year later, he worked with Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller in the period-romance film ‘Casanova’. That year, he also played Adolf Hitler in the telefilm ‘Uncle Adolf’.
Stott won his first British Academy Scotland Award for Best Actor in Television for his role as late comedian Tony Hancock opposite Maxine Peake’s Joan Le Mesurier in BBC Four’s ‘Hancock and Joan’. The story is about the affair between the two central characters, both of whom were married to other people at the time.
In all three films of The Hobbit trilogy, Stott essayed the role of the dwarf Balin. In 2017, he was part of the main cast of the second series of the Sky Atlantic horror psychological thriller show ‘Fortitude’. He appeared in the biographical drama film ‘The Mercy’ in 2018.
Ken Stott played a crucial role in the stage production of ‘Broken Glass.’ The 1994 play by Arthur Miller centres on a couple living in New York City in 1938, while Kristallnacht is taking place in Nazi Germany. Stott played Dr Harry Hyman in the National Theatre Lyttelton’s 1994 production of the play. For his performance, he received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 1995.
He won his second BAFTA Scotland Award for his role as Ian Garrett in the BBC mini-series ‘The Missing’ (2014) in 2015. The role also garnered him a BAFTA TV Award nomination in 2015.
Family & Personal Life
Ken Stott married his first wife, Elizabeth Maxwell, in April 1984. The couple had a son together, named David Maxwell, who was born in August 1985. They ultimately divorced. In 2016, he married his long-time partner, artist Nina Gehl.
While Stott is an ardent supporter of the Scottish football team Heart of Midlothian, the titular character he portrayed in ‘Rebus’ is ironically a supporter of Hibernian, Midlothian’s eternal rival!