ACTING

The book, the play, the film.

Carrying David

Glenn McCrory is playing a lead role in a West End. The Sky Sports pundit gives us the lowdown on an unlikely passion…

The Lowdown

I’m playing the role of Nat in Adam Morley’s ‘The Birds’ at the Leicester Square Theatre, which starts in late September.

Despite initial reports, it’s not actually the first time I’ve trodden the boards. The first thing I ever did was a play called ‘Going Home’ with Tim Healy and Denise Welch. We toured the north-east. A long, long time ago. You’re maybe talking 1989!

It was my goal to achieve. It’s what I wanted to be. I wanted to be an actor. As a kid growing up, boxing was one of my loves and the other was watching people like Errol Flynn and Burt Lancaster in adventure movies. We all want to be the Hollywood hero, don’t we?

I loved all those wild guys. I was attracted to the hell-raisers. Richard Burton I think is just unbelievable. Paul Newman is also brilliant. Steve McQueen I think is also fantastic – he’d go to film sets and he’d give co-stars his own lines! That’s why he hardly says anything in his films.

It worked out that boxing pushed me. I got my breaks in boxing. There weren’t any acting schools where I lived. It wasn’t even heard of, so the plan was to get my face out there boxing and then get in to acting, which I did. I also got in to commentating around the same time.

In my early days at Sky, I’d be doing the boxing commentating or training myself and then going off in to the completely different world of theatre. I liked it. Nobody knew me and nobody knew what I did so I was in a different world.

I loved all those wild guys. I was attracted to the hell-raisers. Richard Burton I think is just unbelievable. Paul Newman is also brilliant. Steve McQueen I think is also fantastic – he’d go to film sets and he’d give co-stars his own lines! That’s why he hardly says anything in his films.

It worked out that boxing pushed me. I got my breaks in boxing. There weren’t any acting schools where I lived. It wasn’t even heard of, so the plan was to get my face out there boxing and then get in to acting, which I did. I also got in to commentating around the same time.

In my early days at Sky, I’d be doing the boxing commentating or training myself and then going off in to the completely different world of theatre. I liked it. Nobody knew me and nobody knew what I did so I was in a different world.

It was a nice change from the boxing world to go in to the ‘luvvy’ world. I didn’t experience any kind of judgement either way because it was always set apart. I wasn’t a household name when I won a world title, so it was great. The acting people didn’t know I boxed and most people in the boxing world didn’t know I acted.

At Sky in those days, it was a tiny team and therefore a lot busier. You’d go on interviews. Then I got offered a position at the Royal Shakespeare Company but it involved going away for eight months. I didn’t really want to be away that long so instead I got a role in a TV show called Quayside, which was a five or six-episode northern soap.

They filmed around me for six weeks but with all my Sky work, I didn’t have a day off. My wife at the time decided enough was enough so I had to choose. Having been a world champion and all the rest of it, I took the safer option because I had a family. With acting, you’re so often out of work and we needed stability.

I don’t have any regrets but I missed it. I made a choice, told my agent and was finished with them. Sky has been superb – being around the fighters and everything has been unbelievable. Boxing is one large drama, one large movie that plays out year after year. I’m happy to play a part in that.

Now I’ve got a chance to pay a big role in the heart of London. It’s the leading man so it’s quite daunting. It’s quieter now on Sky due to the expansion of the team so acting is something I want to explore getting back in to.

My partner got an email off Adam Morley asking if I’d like a part. He then phoned me while I was on holiday in Ireland and I told him I’d loved to be involved. He started telling me the idea and how it involved one male lead and two female. I started to wonder where I fitted in and then he told me he wanted me for the lead.

It’s a big decision. I do lots of stuff and I’ve got a course I’m looking after next week so I can’t start the rehearsals with everyone else. I’ve got to join rehearsals a week late so I’ve got 10 days to rehearse for a 60-page play. It’s all been a bit manic and a bit daunting.

Getting a TV role, you can do it over and over again but live theatre is the toughest of all. I wanted to get back in to it so there’s not a better way than this. I’m straight off the high diving board, and it’s straight in – kind of like everything in my career has been.

I’m so excited to be involved and get this chance to play a lead role in the centre of London’s theatreland. I’m going to give it everything I have to make it a success.

Filmography

Glenn McCrory was born in 1964 in Burnhope, County Durham, England. He is an actor and producer, known for Crocodile Shoes II (1996), Ellington (1994) and Quayside (1997).

1991 Princess from Kathmandu
1992 Press Gang (TV Series)
1992-1995 Casualty (TV Series)
1994 Ellington (TV Movie)
1995 Rumble (TV Series)
1995 Space Precinct (TV Series)

1996 Our Friends in the North (TV Mini-Series)
1996 Ellington (TV Series)
1996 Crocodile Shoes II (TV Mini-Series)
1997 Quayside (TV Series)
2015 The Birds (Play)