`Full Monty' star keen to protect his privacy

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The Independent Online
The actor Robert Carlyle - star of the hit films Trainspotting and The Full Monty - yesterday warned the media to keep out of his private life.

Speaking at the launch of a new BBC Scotland drama serial, the actor said that he was happy with press coverage as long as it related to his work, but got angry when his private life was mentioned. "I'm cool with it in terms of my work. It's when my private life starts to come out I get really angry. It's basically nobody's business but mine."

The outburst follows reports of his planned wedding to girlfriend Anastasia Shirley at exclusive Skibo Castle in Sutherland, owned by businessman Peter de Savary.

But weddings were far from the star's mind yesterday as he spoke about his role as an "Edinburgh Goodfella" in Looking After Jo Jo - a controversial four-part drama which has been compared to Trainspotting.

The drama is set in a poor Edinburgh housing-estate in 1982 and tells the story of criminal activity and drug-dealing among a close-knit community.

But despite comparisons to Trainspotting, writer Frank Deasy described his drama as being about "drugs and war" whereas the film was about "drugs and the youth culture".

And Carlyle, who played hard-man Begbie in the award-winning film, said of his character: "If I thought it was going to be like Begbie all over again, I wouldn't have done it.

"Trainspotting was very stylistic. I don't think there's anything trendy about Jo Jo."

The drama was filmed in Edinburgh and Glasgow during the summer of 1997 and Carlyle spent a lot of time with people living in the Sighthill and Wester Hailes areas of Edinburgh to research his role. "I know those people extremely well now and made a lot of friends. It was very easy for me to be accepted because of the Begbie role."

Carlyle, a Partick Thistle football supporter, was also asked about the plight of his favourite club who are in the midst of a financial crisis. "I love Thistle, they are a great wee club. Clubs the size of Celtic and Rangers should help out. The fact Paul Gascoigne's wages for a week could pay the staff there for a year is a disgrace."