19 Rory McCann

SOURCE: The Scotsman
AUTHOR: Unknown
DATE: 27 November 2005
ORIGINAL: The Scotsman broke the link, the bastards. Can’t find it now.
ARCHIVE: Click here

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Actor, 36

Lives Glencoe and London.

Who is he? As the face – and torso – of Scott’s Porage Oats, Rory was making the heart of many a Scotswoman flutter when he landed the part of wheelchair-user Kenny McLeod in the cult television drama The Book Group. His performance won him a Scottish Bafta for Best TV Performance in 2002. He has since popped up in Young Adam, Rockface II and Oliver Stone’s epic Alexander. This year he filmed Beowulf and Grendel with Gerard Butler, and is currently shooting the third series of Shameless, in which he plays a priest.

Pluses Tall (6ft 6in), dark (brown hair, brown eyes) and handsome (remember that grin from the TV ads?), with a voice that’ll make your knees go weak.

Minuses He has a fierce temper.

Best date “My birthday – April 24, 1969.”

Worst date “My next birthday.”

Best chat-up line “Lift your kilt.”

Nothing is sexier than… “A brown-eyed girl.”

What would you put in Room 101? “Porridge.”

Where will you be in ten years? Lairding it up in his very own castle in Glencoe.

HULK RORY LEAVES NO STONE UNTURNED; SCOTT’S PORAGE OATS STAR RORY McCANN SPILLS THE BEANS ON HOW HE WON A PART IN OLIVER STONE’S MOVIE ALEXANDER BY TELLING THE GREAT MAN TO TAKE A HIKE.

SOURCE: The Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland, UK)
AUTHOR: Paul English
DATE: 01 January 2005
ORIGINAL: No longer on TDR website. See next item.
ARCHIVE: The Free Library by Farlex. Had trouble with Internet Archive on this one for some reason. Will re-attempt later if they get their shit together.
NOTE: I have to say, on the one hand I love the tabloids because they’ll publish the most random shit about Rory, even when the random shit is true. But I could do without all the “hulk” and “jolly green giant” remarks. Jesus.

His former bandmate Graham’s story about his job at The Beeches is corroborated here, though. Haha. Poor Rory. I could see myself doing something like that…

P.S. Lookit the URL (website address) I gave this one. Hahahahaha.

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HOW does an out of work Scottish actor get himself off the road to nowhere and into a Hollywood blockbuster?

By telling one of the biggest directors in the business to f*** off. Well, it worked for Rory McCann. The 35-year-old giant of the Scott’s Porage Oats adverts relaxes into his armchair at Glasgow’s One Devonshire Gardens, contemplating his latest lucky career break.

‘I hadn’t worked for 22 weeks,’ says the ex-Book Group star. ‘I was totally broke.

‘I knew they were doing auditions for Oliver Stone’s Alexander at The Grosvenor hotel in Glasgow, but I heard they wanted us to have prepared a Shakespeare piece for it. I’d never done any Shakespeare and felt I really couldn’t push that one.’

But a chance encounter with a veteran Scottish actor gave him the boot up the behind that took him from Glasgow’s Hillhead to the Hollywood hills.

‘I was at the Western Baths off Byres Road when I met Dave Anderson, who asked me what I was up to work-wise.

‘I told him there was nothing much, apart from this audition up at the Grosvenor, that I wasn’t going to.

‘He nearly kicked me up the arse, and said: ‘Don’t you dare. Get over there and sing a song, whatever, just do something.’ ‘He told me that I’d always wonder what happened if I didn’t go. So I turned up with nothing. I was like ‘Hello, here I am, do you want me to sing?’ In the end, Stone’s casting associate prompted the jolly screen giant to tell how he went from being a lumberjack via painting the Forth Rail Bridge to auditioning for an Oliver Stone movie.

So the Glasgow Hulk told his tales about cutting down trees, punting porridge and winding up in a wheelchair for a part in Channel 4’s The Book Group.

And it paid off.

‘A few days later I got a call and was told to get down to London right away,’ he says. There he met Stone, the big-hitting director whose CV boasts Natural Born Killers, Platoon, JFK and Born On The Fourth of July.

But rather than feeling intimidated, Rory, without a jot of acting training to his name, refused to kow-tow to Stone’s formidable status.

He says: ‘When I was introduced to him I had my lucky t-shirt on, a freebie from Panavision Scotland, which he immediately took the piss out of. I told him to f*** off.

‘And from then on I think we just treated each other as men, really, and not as director and actor.

‘The second thing he asked me was ‘Can you fight?’ ‘I was like: ‘Why’s that your question? Why would you ask me that?’ But the reasons were soon to become clear. By the time Rory had teamed up with co-stars Val Kilmer and leading man Colin Farrell at a pre-filming boot camp, he’d been pushed to his physical and mental limits in preparation for the gruelling role.

The rigid training schedule was meted out by battle-scarred ex-servicemen, who cared not a jot about fame, wealth and pandering to egos.

Rory says: ‘When I met Captain Dale Dye (the former US Military Commander, now eminent film advisor) I went up to him and said: ‘Hi, I’m Rory McCann and I’m playing General Crateros.

‘He said to me: ‘I know who you are, son, you Communist maggot t*rd. Now get down and give me 50.’ ‘I was like ‘Nice to meet you…’ Three weeks of physical graft in the merciless heat of the African desert toughened the actors up and bonded them together.

Rory says: ‘There was no electricity, no phones, no alcohol, no sweets. But it brought us closer together.

‘We’d be crawling over sand dunes to secretly meet some guy on a donkey, giving him half a bank note, and asking him to bring back some chewing gum, cigarettes and Coke, and he’d get the other half when he came back. We were all hitting walls.

‘We lived in tents, had no showers, and for lunch we’d be given half a peach, some olives and stuff.

‘There’d be maggots in the food but you’d just eat them anyway. There was no breakfast. We were only allowed a two-minute shower every second day.

‘We were worn to the bone. But we were soldiers by the end of it and ready to shoot the film. It created a brotherhood.

‘I don’t think anyone involved will ever be the same again.’

Rory recalls how bad-boy buddy Colin Farrell broke down in the middle of boot camp when news reached him that he’d become a dad for the first time.

He says: ‘Someone faxed a photo of his boy to him. I have a picture of him sitting there wearing a head torch, with him looking at this picture of his baby, crying his eyes out, covered from head to toe in all sorts of sh*t.

‘Someone managed to sneak in some beer for a quiet celebration that night. It was like prison. But I have to say I loved every last minute of it.’

Rory plays one of Alexander the Great’s generals. Initially, he feared his part might end up on Stone’s cutting room floor.

But when veteran Brian Blessed fell ill during filming it forced a rethink, resulting in Crateros taking on the mutiny speech – a key scene.

‘Until Blessed went down, I think I had about six lines,’ says Rory. ‘I was thinking about how much I’d end up being involved in things.

Stone’s cutting techniques are legendary, you’ll end up as an elbow in one shot, that’s the worry. But I ended up featuring quite heavily.’ The epic battle scenes took meticulous planning but are visually stunning on the big screen.

‘There were members of the Moroccan army and various other extras and ex-forces men involved in filming those scenes,’ says Rory.

‘Even some of them found it hard.’ The film was shot in Thailand, Morocco and in London studios.

‘Forget stunt routines,’ he says. ‘You were fighting for your bloody life.’ But it wasn’t all hard graft. Rory, the former frontman of a defunct band called Thundersoup, wowed his co-stars with his musical talents.

‘I played piano every other night in Bangkok or Marrakesh,’ he says.

‘Nearly everyone was a musician of some sort, apart from Colin who can’t sing to save himself. We were jamming all the time. Farrell was right in the middle of it all – but he’s bloody useless at music.’

THE film’s LA premier left Rory a little disappointed. He expected to party all through the night in the city of angels with co-stars Angelina Jolie, Kilmer, Farrell and Anthony Hopkins, yet he wound up back in his hotel room raiding the mini-bar. He says: ‘It wasn’t wild. I thought they’d have been partying all night but we were thrown off the piano at the Chateau Marmont Hotel and everyone was ready for bed by 2am. I didn’t like Los Angeles. Don’t know if it’s my scene. But I’d go again for work, of course.’

Which is a distinct possibility given the fact that his global profile has now been given a serious shot in the arm.

Indeed, some have suggested that the jolly screen giant has already earned his first million working on Alexander.

But Rory laughs that off.

‘Some a***hole made that up,’ he says. ‘My mother actually sent me a paper cutting when I’d just left the boot camp.

‘But the truth is I’d never been so broke. ‘I used to actually do OK when I worked as a lumberjack, I always had cash in my pocket. But now I hardly have any.

‘When I work, I live like a lord and spend all my cash on everyone and enjoy it with them. When I don’t work I tighten the belt and walk everywhere.’

He still lives in Glasgow with his girlfriend but hasn’t bought a place yet.

The money’s not quite steady enough, and he’s still driving around in a 30-year-old Scimitar, although you can’t quite see him driving something modern and sensible.

‘You can leave the Scimitar for three months in the rain and it just doesn’t rust,’ he says.

Rory’s just finished filming Beowulf & Grendell with Gerry Butler and Tony Curran in Iceland, but there’s nothing concrete around the corner.

‘At the moment, I have no idea what my next job is, or when my next pay cheque will be,’ he says.

Rory’s cashed Giros like anyone else who’s out of work – even after the Porage Oats ads – but he hopes it doesn’t get back to that.

If things get desperate again, he’d reluctantly – very reluctantly – consider getting that chainsaw out again.

‘It would kill me,’ he says. ‘I’ve been totally winging the acting – and I was a cowboy at the tree-felling thing too.

‘I destroyed everything in that job – greenhouses, garages, a BMW…

‘I even once did a job on a house called The Beeches.’

The implication’s clear that there weren’t as many beech trees left on that job, after Rory had hacked his way through the grounds, as the owners might have liked there to be.

Still, there’s always the dole queue if things get really grim.

‘Aye, that’s right,’ he says with a huge smile.

‘Imagine that – I’ll be the only millionaire signing on at Maryhill Job Centre.’

Rory McCann on the set of Alexander, date unknown

PHOTOGRAPHER: Unknown
SOURCE: Unknown
DATE TAKEN: Unknown (see Note)
DATE POSTED: Not relevant. Has been passed all over the internet by now.
NOTE: Production of this film ran from September 2003 to February 2004. I have no idea when this photo was taken, so I am dating it the last day of February 2004.

Also, fangirls, please stop watermarking photos you didn’t take. Filters don’t make it yours either. Thanks in advance.

Rory McCann on set of Alexander, date unknown

Time & Place: Good times as king of the castle

SOURCE: The Times
AUTHOR: Mike Wilson
DATE: 03 August 2003
ORIGINAL: Click here
ARCHIVE: Cannot archive due to paywall.
NOTE: If this looks familiar, it’s because you’ve seen the story of Rory as a castle doorman in “Dog Soldier“. This story goes into much more detail and gives us context for several other things going on in his life at the time. Finding this for me was like being the little kid at Christmas.

And hey, big man. You ever want someone to come hang out with you in a castle gatehouse again, winter or summer, hit me up. It’s cold? Fuck it, let’s cuddle.

I know. I know. Shaddup.I KNOW, I KNOW, MARRIED MAN. Never mind. Grump.

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Actor Rory McCann loved life in an old stone gatehouse, he tells Mike Wilson

The gatehouse looks like a mini-castle — it has 30ft oak doors. Downstairs, there was a grand piano, plus big wheels, the size of a car wheel, that were used to open the 30ft doors. Upstairs, 50 steps up a turret, was my bedroom.

Rowallan Castle is owned by a friend who played with me in a band. And as well as doing tree surgery, I was also required to walk the land, with my gun and dog, to keep an eye on things. Basically, in exchange for being able to live in the gatehouse, I was an unpaid night watchman, doing the odd job around the place and cutting down the odd tree. I felt very lucky. This was only five years ago.

I had great times at Rowallan. It was hard, though, during the winter. The only way to heat the house was with log fires but it would take four hours before the house would feel warm, because the stone (walls) just sucked the heat from the fires. To get a bath, I’d just go down to Kilmarnock swimming pool.

In summer, though, it was just glorious. And I had the whole place to myself. I am very good with my own company. Most of my girlfriends, however, didn’t like staying there when it was dark and cold. Some thought it was like camping, because it was so basic.

Furniture-wise, there were only four pieces: a grand piano, a bed, a sofa and a chair. It’s just as well I can play the piano. There was no cooker, for instance. But I got by for food: lots of fish suppers, I suppose. I’d sometimes cook on the fire.

There was also a dummy — Rab — in full Highland dress, which would scare me every time I opened the door to the room it was in.

Eventually, I had to start earning something for a living, so I left Rowallan for a high-rise in Glasgow and a job painting the Forth bridge. I did that for a year.

It wasn’t the best time of my life, partly because I had to get rid of my dog, a big German shepherd.

But during that time came a call from an agent, asking me to appear in a television ad for Scott’s porridge oats. It meant I was able to dump the ropes and dump the chainsaw and I’ve never looked back.

I now live in the west end of Glasgow. But I dream of one day having my own castle, a hideyhole.

You might know the porridge ad: I’m wearing a kilt, walking down the street, and the wind blows up. It looked very Marilyn Monroe, standing over the air vent.

You have got to remember, I was knocking on agents’ doors all during this period. But all I’d get were one-liners. One of the reasons I moved to Glasgow from Rowallan, I suppose, was to be closer to the acting scene.

And then Annie Griffin, who wrote and directed The Book Group asked me to read a script. I was actually working on a tree when she arrived in person.

Of course, I was expecting it to be another one-line wonder. She handed me the script. I said, “Which line do I say?” And she replied, “No, read the whole script.”

And lo and behold, I’m reading the character of Kenny and his stories are feeling like my stories. And then, a while after that, last year, I am picking up a Scottish Bafta for Best Television Performance.

Best known for playing Kenny in Channel 4’s The Book Group, Rory McCann has appeared in Peter the Great, broadcast on the BBC, and has a part in a film, Young Adam, to be screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival

Why he’s always up for it

SOURCE: The Herald
AUTHOR: Lorna MacLaren
DATE: 28 January 2003
ORIGINAL: Click here
ARCHIVE: Click here

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From dubious tree surgeon and Forth bridge painter to giant of porridge commercials, Book Group star Rory McCann tells Lorna MacLaren of his next move

KNOWN as the porridge-oats hunk to breathless fans, Rory McCann’s image as a solid oak of manhood was shaken to the roots in a public toilet. As his towering 6ft 6in figure leaned over a urinal, he was accosted.

“At the crucial moment this bloke grabbed me by the arm and said ‘You’re that porridge guy’. He looked me up and down and said ‘My, you are big’. There is no way to get a flow going after that.”

McCann, advertising sensation and now star of Channel 4 cult comedy The Book Group, tells his toilet tale while rocking precariously on a high stool in a Glasgow coffee shop. He’s huge for the flimsy seat and curses as he hunches forward to keep his balance on its spindly legs.

The idea that he is famous seems to surprise him. “Why do people want to interview me anyway?” Yet he is no longer best known for being the muscle man in the Scot’s Porage Oats ads who lets cheeky girls peek up his kilt. The 33-year-old former lumberjack, tree surgeon (he still loves climbing into leafy branches where he can disappear), and one-time painter of the Forth Bridge, is today a respected actor following the cult hit of his current project, The Book Group. A Channel 4 success story, the intelligent comedy drama, now in its second series, is set in Glasgow and revolves around a set of dysfunctional people drawn together through their love of writing and a desire for friendship.

It’s quirky and the humour is bitter-sweet. Inevitably it’s been compared to a Scots version of the US comedy, Friends. McCann plays Kenny in a wheelchair, a part he researched by meeting people in the spinal injuries unit at the Southern General hospital in Glasgow, and socialising with wheelchair users. “Those guys were fantastic. They put up with me asking them the most ridiculous questions,” he smiles broadly.

“How do you climb up the stair in a close when you’re in a wheelchair? I had to find out and then do it. I even asked one guy how he made love to his girlfriend who also uses a chair. The people I spoke to were brutally honest and would always say if I did something or used my arms in a way a wheelchair user would never do. They were mainly very positive about the role. It was a good challenge for me as an actor too, taking me away from the obvious ‘big guy’ parts people would expect to see.”

He’s got a cold, and had growled the fact in quite a disturbing manner when I first introduced myself, but now there is a major thawing as he succumbs to a hasty bribe of coffee and several hundred bagels with cream cheese.

A joke about his healthy appetite is greeted with indignance. “Did you see that newspaper story about me needing a body-double in the latest porridge ad?” he asks between chews. He is referring to a fitness guru being used as a stand-in for the McCann six-pack in his third, porridge adventure which shows him emerging from a skinny dip in a chilly loch – kilt swinging from a nearby branch.

“That really pissed me off, I mean, the guy quoted said I had a wee willie, which is bad enough, and not true [his voice is full of comic menace]. But making out I was fat? I was in the process of losing weight after a film project.”

McCann’s eyes flicker as passers-by stop outside our window and point nervously through the glass at him, as though they were observing a dangerous zoo animal, but his conversation doesn’t falter for a second. He seems to be used to the attention. “The adverts made me a familiar face, but I’d refused to do them at first.”

I ask him if he’s subsequently become a hit with women, only to find out (apologies to his fans) that he has been for six years living quite happily with his girlfriend. She’s a doctor, a very sensible girl, who takes it all in her stride, he assures me.

Even the steamy scenes in The Book Group?

He grins: “I do have loads of girlfriends in this series. Kenny is a popular bloke. It’s rubbish what actors say about being embarrassed by the crew staring at you when you’re half naked and rolling around with a woman – it’s actually great.”

He grins wickedly before admitting that he was actually deeply afraid during the whole Book Group creation – especially the first series. At the time he was an unknown quantity, had never done more than a couple of “one-line wonders”, as he describes his former experience.

“There were times at the start of it all when I would be standing, terrified in front of the cameras and people I considered ‘real’ actors. I had no idea what was happening, what the guy with the clipboard did, or if people in the studio were looking at me because it was their job to look at me or because they thought I was making a mess of things. Luckily everyone was very supportive and Annie Griffin steered me through it. I was in tears more than once though.”

Griffin, an American director and writer is the creative talent behind The Book Group. There have been questions asked on how she managed to capture the Scots psyche when arguably a more home-grown offering such as the BBC soap River City missed the mark. “I think Annie’s ideas work because she came into Scotland from the outside and has been able to observe us for who we are,” says McCann.

“I’ve known her for a long time. She took a real chance on me by giving me the Book Group role. The first time she told me her idea for Kenny, who is based on me, I’m ashamed to say I told her he wasn’t a good idea. She was a bit crushed, by all accounts, and I was obviously wrong.”

While “Kenny” lost the use of his legs in a climbing accident, the actor who plays him almost died a few years ago when climbing in Yorkshire with no ropes – falling 80ft. “I remember clinging to rocks with my fingertips and there was nowhere for me to go, only down,” he says. “I knew I was going to fall, and that I’d probably die. I ended up just letting go. It was lucky that I rolled most of the way down and just broke my feet and wrist and bashed my head.”

Life was precarious but fun in his pre-acting days. He recalls: “I was a lumberjack for years, a pub bouncer, I’ve sung in a band, in fact I still sing, and I even trained myself to be a tree surgeon. Now that was dangerous, hanging off of dead trees and sawing away at the branches. I also had a job swinging 250ft from a rope, painting the Forth rail bridge. I tell you though, acting is far more scary.”

After getting into showbusiness late in life, at last, he has gained the confidence he needs to be an actor. “I’m a different person from the wreck of the first Book Group series. I’ve grown into it all.”

He has just finished filming a new project with Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton, and he has a forthcoming part in a television drama starring Kelly McDonald. “My roles aren’t huge but it’s a start,” he says. “I’ve also got a chance of filming in Malta for a few months with my own slave girl and chariot. It’s a lot better than cutting down trees but I’d go back to that before taking parts I’m not happy with. I want to make good choices after Book Group. I’m hopeful that I’ve made a breakthrough now and people are getting to know me.”

Illustrating the point, a well-dressed coffee drinker with a clipboard, looking every bit a television executive, appears by our seats and slaps McCann hard on the back. “We think you’re wonderful. Good job,” he barks, before sweeping away.

The porridge-oat man smiles broadly, then turns to me and frowns. “Who the f*** was that?”

OAT OF SHAPE; Porridge hunk needs body double to stand in for his flabby abs.

SOURCE: The Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
AUTHOR: Mark McGivern
DATE: 11 January 2003
ORIGINAL: No longer available
ARCHIVE: Click here (Free Library) or click here (archive.org)
NOTE: Including this mainly because Rory answers it here and because it mentions what kind of BAFTA Rory won for The Book Group. Otherwise it’s utter shite.

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Byline: MARK McGIVERN EXCLUSIVE

PORRIDGE star Rory McCann needed a body double for his latest TV ads after losing some of his famous muscles.

The sexy actor has become a national icon as the kilt-clad hunk in the Scott’s Porage Oats commercials.

But for the latest advert, a stand-in had to be used to replace torso shots of the 6ft 6in star’s out-of-shape abs.

And Daily Record fitness guru Ian Armstrong was enlisted to strip off for the stomach close- ups.

Ian, 40, who has helped on movie stunt and fight scenes, said: “I’ve done some film work but I was surprised to be asked to do the porridge advert.

“When Rory got the job a few years ago, I was up against him. I got a screen test but he won in the end.

“I’ve kept in trim but it would be really difficult to juggle his acting job with body building full time.”

He added: “You couldn’t call Rory fat but obviously the advertising people knew what they wanted. He still has a fit body and looks good.”

Rory has proved a huge hit in the cheeky Scott’s Porage Oats ads.

In one, he raises temperatures by walking over a hot air vent, sending his kilt skywards.

In another, Rory is forced to climb a ladder and flash his backside in a grocer’s shop. But the 34-year-old has also become a serious acting talent since he first made his name as a model.

In the BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards, he won Best TV Performer as the wheelchair-bound mountaineer in the Channel 4 comedy The Book Group.

In the latest porridge ad, Rory decides to take a dip in a pool, despite the water being freezing.

Ian said: “Some gorgeous girls spot his kilt hanging up in a tree and hang around to catch a glimpse of him as he emerges from the water in all his glory.

“Unfortunately for him, the water temperature doesn’t do much for the appearance of his manhood.

“We shot the scene together, so whenever you see a close-up of Rory’s stomach, that’s actually me.”

I FELL INTO ACTING SAYS OATS HUNK; SCOTS ACTOR AND CLIMBER RORY MCCANN ON THE MOUNTAIN PLUNGE THAT CHANGED HIS LIFE

SOURCE: Daily Record
AUTHOR: Rick Fulton
DATE: 28 March 2002
ORIGINAL: No longer available
ARCHIVE: Click here (Free Library); Click here (Internet Archive)

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Byline: RICK FULTON EXCLUSIVE

STRAPPING Scott’s Porage Oats man Rory McCann cheated death after falling an incredible 70 feet in a climbing accident.

And now the fall is the basis of a new pounds 1.3 million Channel 4 comedy series, The Book Group.

The background to Rory’s character Kenny is based on his own horrific accident – but in the television show, he is paralysed and wheelchair-bound.

Luckily for Rory, he recovered from his horrendous injuries, which included a fractured skull.

Rory, 33, explained: “I was holding on to an overhung cliff face on a Yorkshire cliff. I was on my own and I didn’t have any ropes. I had 15 feet to go, but I didn’t have any strength left and couldn’t do the last move.

“For 10 minutes I held on, then went ‘f*** it’ and aimed for a patch of green. I just saw green, green, green and then ‘bang’. I thought I was going to die.” A friend saw Rory fall but couldn’t drive, so with two broken ankles, broken wrist, broken arm and fractured skull, Rory drove to hospital, his mate changing the gears.

He said: “I couldn’t believe I drove away from that with four stookies and a head bandage. I lost a life there.”

Later, the 6ft 6ins Glaswegian gentle giant told writer and director Annie Griffin about his fall and his life-long love of climbing. Now she’s used it for The Book Group about an American woman who comes to Scotland and forms a book group to make friends.

But the people she attracts, such as Kenny, aren’t exactly what she expects and each week we follow their stories.

Being in a wheelchair is a completely different image to the one that has made Rory a international star as the kilted hunk in a white vest who promotes Scotland’s most famous breakfast.

But Rory doesn’t want to be just the face of Porage Oats – he is desperate to become a full-time actor. This is a perfect opportunity, as the series goes out at 9.30pm on a Friday night – Channel 4’s comedy prime time.

And he’s also won a part as Peter Mullen’s brother-in-law in Young Adam, which stars Ewan McGregor and is currently being filmed in Scotland.

RORY is on the cusp of becoming a successful actor – something he’s dreamed of for years. As well as Young Adam, he will soon be seen in London’s Burning as a jealous boyfriend.

For research for The Book Group, Rory met wheelchair users with spinal injuries to see how they got about. He also went round Glasgow for a day in a wheelchair, which was an eye-opener.

He said: “Everyone was extra friendly and slightly patronising. I think many able-bodied folk find it hard to know what to say or how to act with disabled people.

“It did make me think about what life could have been like after my fall, but I’m still amazed I lived, let alone walked away without a permanent injury.”

But then everything about Rory McCann is amazing. He’s had the sort of life many of us only dream of.

Three years ago when he was offered the chance to be the Scott’s Porage Oats man, he turned it down several times because he wanted to climb the Matterhorn. The producers had auditioned 400 people – but the first time Rory was asked, he was too busy painting the Forth Bridge.

At school, Rory was bullied for being small and skinny. He became a lumberjack and broadened out and that started his love of rock climbing.

He had his first taste of acting at an early age. At 17, he was climbing in Wales and was going past a slate quarry when he stumbled on filming for the fantasy epic Willow.

Director Ron Howard, who this week won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind, was looking for extra cast and Rory blagged his way in. He recalled: “They didn’t want me at first. They were looking for drunks who were big, so I stood up and said ‘I’m 6ft 6ins and I’m from Glasgow’.

“My scene was having to look terrified, but every time I looked up, my friends would make me laugh. Ron would say: ‘Hey, Scottie, don’t laugh’. But I couldn’t help it and was chucked off set.”

Having grown a beard for his new role, Rory is happy to keep it and ditch the kilt so he doesn’t get recognised as much.

Rory, who lives with Hazel, his doctor girlfriend of four years, said: “People come up and poke me and say ‘there’s the Porage man’. But it was a great privilege to do the adverts.”

He was keen to do the new television drama Rockface, feeling he was Scotland’s only real climber and actor, but was told they already had Clive Russell – another strapping Scot.

But that hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for acting.

He confessed: “I would prefer to cut down some trees for pounds 100 than do a ropy character, but I want to become a full-time actor – I’m still cutting down trees and every time, I hope it’s my last job.

“My hands are knackered – I’ve got white finger from the vibrations of the chainsaws like miners who use heavy equipment down the pits.

“I’m 17 and a half stones going up trees that are about to fall down. I’ve been lucky once and I don’t want to risk it all again.”

Hello, world!

Rory Frederick McCann was born on 24 April 1969 at 11:02am, one hour east of Greenwich Mean, in Scotland.

There is some dispute over whether he was born in Paisley or in Glasgow. Most sources say Glasgow. I am unclear whether this is due to Paisley’s somewhat less-than-stellar reputation among locals or whether Rory himself prefers Glasgow as the locale where he did most of his growing up. The conflation of Paisley with Glasgow may even be a widely-agreed-upon geographical shortcut, the way Dublin, Ohio is considered part of Columbus, Ohio even though Dublin is its own municipality with its own police force and postal ZIP Codes. Paisley and Glasgow are not as close together as Dublin and Columbus are, but that probably doesn’t matter to locals.

Personally I am going with this source and with Rory’s birthplace being Paisley, because the source in question claims to have seen his actual birth certificate. Anyway, that places him squarely in good company including Gerard Butler (with whom he’s acted before), Steven Moffat (my favorite Doctor Who writer), David Tennant (one of my top five favorite Doctors!), and Denzil Meyrick which, considering what Meyrick is famous for, has me shaking my head and marveling at the capriciousness of the universe.

I have never seen the names of Rory’s father and mother in print. In roughly three years from this date, Rory became a big brother to Sally-Gay McCann who went on to work in costuming for the TV and film industry for years, including on Game of Thrones and in fact, in a way, helped her brother land his role as Sandor “The Hound” Clegane.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

An investigation into the meanings of Rory’s first and middle names and surname yields interesting fruit. Clearly Rory was well-loved and/or his parents had high hopes for him but, given what came later, Rory’s surname is even more notable.

RORY: Red king

FREDERICK: Peaceful ruler

McCANN: Son of wolf cub

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SOURCES:

Definition of Rory: source [archive]

Definition of Frederick: source [archive]

Definition of McCann:

McCann (surname) at Wikipedia [archive]

McCann Name History, Family Crest, & Coats of Arms at House of Names [archive]

McCann Surname History at johngrenham.com [archive]

Astrological information, if you must (I like this sort of thing too, not judging): Best source for birth info [archive] and detailed data on Rory’s natal chart [archive].

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…Any further questions about this: Ask Rory. Obviously.