Billy Connolly and Alan Cumming pay tribute to Stanley Baxter as Outlander is also honoured at Scottish BAFTAs

Sir Billy Connolly, Alan Cumming, Ford Kiernan and Elaine C Smith were among the Scots stars to pay tribute to Stanley Baxter as he was recognised for an outstanding contribution to film and TV at the BAFTA Scotland Awards.

The Glasgow-born entertainer, now 94 and living in London, made a rare public appearance during the annual awards, which were staged in virtual form for the first time.

Baxter, who is now 94, spent decades in the limelight thanks to his long-running TV sketch shows, which saw him recognised by BAFTA in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as his annual appearances in Christmas pantomimes until he bowed out in the early 1990s.

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In his video tribute to Baxter, Sir Billy said: “I know that you don’t like this kind of thing, but you deserve it. Nobody deserves it more. The work you put in in the 60’s and 70’s stands on its own. You’re a marvel and you’ve got beautiful legs.”

In an acceptance speech recorded at his home in London, Baxter said: “I don’t think I could have been anything else but a performer. I was so rotten at everything else I tried to do.

“Normally at school, you know you find out there what you have a talent for. It turned out I had no talent at all, but really it gave me all my interest with showbusiness. That was true all of my life.

“But it all started really with my mother dragging me round church halls. I was a child doing sophisticated gags that I didn’t even know the meaning of.”

In his acceptance speech, Baxter credited his success to his celebrated “Parliamo Glasgow” sketches.

He added: “There was always a worry that they might find it too broad, but I knew damn well that Scots are able to laugh at themselves, of course they could. And

so it proved to be.

"Thank you, BAFTA Scotland, for this honour I’m very, very pleased. Thanks a lot.”

Cumming said: “I really do think that Stanley has - inadvertently probably - given me the sort of outlook I

Stanley Baxter receiving his Bafta Scotland Award at his home in London.
Stanley Baxter receiving his Bafta Scotland Award at his home in London.

have on acting and writing and everything I do really, because so many of the things he was parodying, those sketches and big musical numbers and everything I saw as a little boy.”

Still Game star Kiernan said: “I don’t think there’s anybody in the comedy business in television who hasn’t been influenced in some way by Stanley’s work.”

Smith said: “I’m just delighted for him and for us as a country that we had and have such and amazing entertainer grace our stages and screens over all these years.

"My experience of Stanley Baxter was on television and like my experience watching Billy Connolly, it was actually what he did to my mother. The way my mother laughed and his ability to play women in particular that women really recognised and was really, really unusual. And although there was campery and all that in there, there was great accuracy in there as well.”

Stanley Baxter and his TV sketch shows were honoured by BAFTA in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Picture: Ian Skelly

Meanwhile the two-hour online ceremony saw the time-travel fantasy series Outlander, which is made in Scotland, win a new brand new audience award, ahead of hit dramas River City, Guilt and The Nest.

Outlander star Sam Heughan tweeted: “Thanks to the fans who every time show up and support our incredible show. It deserves to be celebrated, it’s the hardest working crew and a show that has done so much for Scotland. Thank you!”

Neil Forsyth’s Edinburgh-set crime thriller Guilt, which has been commissioned for a second series which has just started filming, won the categories for best scripted TV programme and best director.

Scottish-Rwandan actor Ncuti Gatwa, who was brought up in Edinburgh and Fife, was named best TV actor for his starring role in the hit Netflix comedy-drama Sex Education, ahead of Guilt stars Mark Bonnar and Jamie Sives.

Gatwa said: “It means the world to me to receive this award and be recognised in Scotland, my bonnie home. It means the world to play Eric and be part of a show that is so empowering and inclusive.”

Being Gail Porter, which portrayed the Edinburgh-born star’s rise to fame and subsequent battles with “depression, anorexia, self-harming and homelessness”, was named best single documentary.

Stanley Baxter as Liberace in 1979. Picture: ITV/Shutterstock

In a video message accepting the award, Porter said: “This is so cool. My bathroom is going to look fabulous.”

The entertainment category was won by a Scot Squad spin-off which saw Jack Docherty’s character Chief Commissioner Cameron Miekelson grill Scotland's political leaders.

Veteran English actress Glenda Jackson won the best TV actress award for her role as a dementia sufferer in the BBC Scotland drama Elizabeth is Missing, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Emma Healey.

She said: “Dementia is an issue I’ve been banging on about for quite some time. We live in a society where we are living longer and illnesses which we didn’t know about because we died before they could strike us are striking is now. It was wonderful book and an excellent script. It was a real privilege to be part of it.”

Screenwriter Paul Laverty was honoured for Sorry We Missed You, his latest collaboration with director Ken Loach, which depicts the struggles of a delivery driver on a zero hours contract.

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Outlander won a brand new audience award at the 2020 Scottish Baftas. Picture: Sony/Starz
Ncuti Gatwa was name best TV actor at the BAFTA Scotland Awards for his starring role in the hit Netflix comedy-drama Sex Education.
Edith Bowman hosted this year's Bafta Scotland Awards, which were streamed online.
Edinburgh crime thriller Guilt was a double winner at this year's Scottish Baftas.
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