John Cairney as Robert Burns
John Cairney was a charismatic Scottish actor, forever identified with his passionate and powerful portrayal of Robert Burns in his one man show, There Was a Man.
I met him once, back in 1997, when we were both waiting for our respective editors at Mainstream Publishing in Edinburgh. He was warm, friendly and charming. I told him our family had also loved the 1960s TV series in which he starred as a rector/heidie of a Scottish high school, This Man Craig.
He told me he’d recently flown back to Scotland from New Zealand, where he lived for a number of years. When he stepped into a taxi at Glasgow Airport, the driver recognized him. The conversation went like this:
“John Cairney? I thought you were deid!’
“No, I’ve been living in New Zealand.”
Apologies to New Zealand but he thought it was hilarious! In my mind’s eye, I can still see him laughing at this typical Glasgow exchange.