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EXCLUSIVE: Dundee-born Hollywood star Brian Cox says freedom of the city would be ‘icing on an incredible cake’

Brian Cox reads a copy of The Courier
Brian Cox reads a copy of The Courier

Dundee-born actor Brian Cox has said that if he was ever to be offered the freedom of his home city, it would be the “icing on an incredible cake”.

In an interview with The Courier to mark the launch of his new autobiography, the 75-year-old Hollywood A-lister added: “It would be the cherry on the cake to be made freedom of my home town. It would be a wonderful thing. An absolutely wonderful thing.”

Mr Cox made the comment after Bob Servant creator Neil Forsyth suggested in The Courier this week that “now, surely, is the time that Dundee City Council should give Brian the freedom of the city”.

In an opinion column, Mr Forsyth said: “I believe that this rare honour would be a fitting, and timely, recognition of a Dundonian life well lived.”

Speaking to The Courier about his new memoir Putting the Rabbit in the Hat, Mr Cox said he had a “complicated relationship” with Dundee.

However, at the end of the day, he said: “It’s the folk and the city and I love it.”

Shaped by Dundee

“Dundee is called the City of Discovery but I think it should be called the City of Survival,” he added.

“It’s been through so much. Certainly in the 75 years I’ve been alive it’s gone through so much.”

From Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter to media magnate Logan Roy in HBO’s Succession, Brian Cox is regarded as an actor of unparalleled distinction and versatility.

However, few know his extraordinary life story. Growing up poverty-stricken in Dundee, Cox lost his father when he was just eight and was brought up by his elder sisters in the aftermath of his mother’s nervous breakdowns and hospitalisation.

Brian Cox in 1989

After joining the Dundee Repertory Theatre as a teenager, you could say the rest is history – but that would overlook the enormous graft that has gone into making the legend.

Mr Cox said doing Neil Forsyth’s Bob Servant was for him “one of the great things to do”.

TV shows in Scotland have often tended to be Glasgow-based.

However, Brian reckons Dundonians are much “crazier and more surreal” with their humour.

Actor Brian Cox, pictured during filming of Bob Servant at Broughty Ferry Green

“That’s what I think Neil captures brilliantly,” he added.

“In fact friend’s of Neil thought Bob was based on my brother Charlie, who had a shop in Monifieth. He was quite an eccentric my brother – sadly no longer with us.

“Everybody said ‘oh that’s Charlie Cox’. He said ‘no I never met Charlie Cox’.

“That’s actually what I did, I channelled my brother, because my brother used to do these extraordinary things.”

For a fuller interview with Brian Cox, see The Courier’s Weekend magazine of Saturday November 13.

Opinion: Time to give Hollywood hero Brian Cox freedom of Dundee

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