Andy Stewart: what’s he on aboot?
Written by: Stewart Borland
Published: 25th September 2014
We think he’s mucking out a cow shed, but who with…. and what’s happening….? Whiskey might well be involved…
The late great Andy Stewart – Scottish musician, comedian, and all round performer – died in October 1993. Many of us will remember him as TVs answer to Hogmanay throughout the sixties and seventies. He hosted The White Heather Show, a weekly variety programme which would annually take over the BBC’s midnight slot on New Year’s Eve. In the seventies this was replaced by Scotch Corner and Andy’s Party. Later in life, as ill health plagued him, we saw him only on New Year’s Eve. But he was always a popular performer.
In the sixties Andy enjoyed many chart entries of both comic and folk songs, including ‘The Muckin’ O Geordie’s Byre’ and ‘Donald Where’s Your Troosers?‘ which were hits in the USA and Australia as well as the British charts. The height of his international popularity became obvious at the Worlds Fair in New York in 1964 where he was given a standing ovation by a crowd of many thousands of people when he made an appearance there.
Andy, who had trained at the prestigious Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, was a man of many talents, not least a brilliant mimic. Tom Jones, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and even Petula Clark were favourites among his repertoire.
Andy Stewart’s son, Ewan Stewart, followed in his father footsteps and trained as an actor. Most people would remember Ewan in the role of First Officer Murdoch in the 1997 version of Titanic, but what is less well known is that Ewan was one of the hopefuls shortlisted for the role of James Bond, being narrowly beaten by Daniel Craig.
Performing must run in this family’s blood, because Andy’s grandson, Harris Beattie, played the title role of Billie Elliot in the London West End production between 2012 and 2013. It’s a shame his grandpa didn’t live to see him perform. No doubt he would have been very proud.