Robbie Coltrane

British Academy Television Award for Best Actor Michael Gambon Samuel Johnson

Robbie Coltrane

Coltrane in 2007
Anthony Robert McMillan

(1950-03-30) 30 March 1950 (age 70)
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
  • Actor
  • writer
Years active1979–present
Rhona Gemmell
(m. 1999; sep. 2003)

Anthony Robert McMillan OBE (born 30 March 1950), known professionally as Robbie Coltrane, is a Scottish actor and writer. He is known for his roles as Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter film series (2001-2011), as Dr. Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald in the television series Cracker (1993-2006), and as Valentin Dmitrovich Zhukovsky in the James Bond films GoldenEye (1995) and The World Is Not Enough (1999). His other works include From Hell (2001), Stormbreaker (2006), Brave (2012), and Great Expectations (2012).

Coltrane was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2006 New Year Honours for his services to drama.

Early life and education

Coltrane was born Anthony Robert McMillan in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, Scotland, the son of Jean Ross Howie, a teacher and pianist, and Ian Baxter McMillan, a general practitioner who also served as a forensic police surgeon.[1] He has an older sister, Annie, and a younger sister, Jane. Coltrane is the great-grandson of Scottish businessman Thomas W. Howie and the nephew of businessman Forbes Howie.

He started his education at Belmont House School in Newton Mearns before moving to Glenalmond College, an independent school in Perthshire. Though he later described his experiences there as deeply unhappy, he played for the rugby First XV, was head of the school's debating society and won prizes for his art.[2] From Glenalmond, Coltrane went on to Glasgow School of Art, where he was ridiculed for "having an accent like Prince Charles" (of which he quickly disposed, though not before gaining the nickname "Lord Fauntleroy"), and thereafter Moray House College of Education (now part of the University of Edinburgh) in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Coltrane later called for private schools to be banned and used to be known as "Red Robbie",[3] rebelling against his conservative upbringing through involvement with Amnesty International, Greenpeace, the Labour Party and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.


Coltrane in costume in the 1980s

Coltrane moved into acting in his early twenties, taking the stage name Coltrane (in tribute to jazz saxophonist John Coltrane)[4] and working in theatre and comedy. Appearing in the 1981 BBC television comedy series A Kick Up the Eighties, his comic skills also brought him roles in The Comic Strip Presents (1982) series and the comedy sketch shows Alfresco (1983–1984) and Laugh??? I Nearly Paid My Licence Fee (1984).

Coltrane moved into roles in films such as Flash Gordon (1980), Death Watch (1980), Balham, Gateway to the South (1981), Scrubbers (1983), Krull (1983), The Supergrass (1985), Defence of the Realm (1985), Absolute Beginners (1986), Mona Lisa (1986) and appeared as "Annabelle" in The Fruit Machine (1988).

On television, he appeared in The Young Ones, Tutti Frutti (1987), as Samuel Johnson in Blackadder (1987) (a role he later reprised in the more serious Boswell and Johnson's Tour of the Western Islands (1993)), and in a number of stand-up and sketch comedy shows. He played the part of Falstaff in Kenneth Branagh's Henry V (1989) He co-starred with Eric Idle in Nuns on the Run (1990), and played the Pope in The Pope Must Die (1991). He also played a would-be private detective obsessed with Humphrey Bogart in the TV play The Bogie Man.

His roles continued in the 1990s with the TV series Cracker (1993–1996, returning in 2006 for a one-off special), in which he starred as forensic psychologist Dr. Edward "Fitz" Fitzgerald.[5] The role won him three BAFTA awards.

Roles in bigger films followed; the James Bond films GoldenEye (1995) and The World Is Not Enough (1999), a supporting role in From Hell (2001), as well as half-giant Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter films (2001–2011). J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, had Coltrane at the top of her list to play Hagrid and, when asked whom she would like to see in the role, responded "Robbie Coltrane for Hagrid" in one quick breath.[6][7] The 7ft (2.13 m) ex-England and British Lions rugby player, Martin Bayfield stood in for the 6 ft 1in Coltrane in some scenes.[8][9]

Coltrane has also presented a number of documentary programmes for the British ITV network based around his twin passions for travel and transportation. Coltrane in a Cadillac (1993) saw him cross North America from Los Angeles to New York behind the wheel of a 1951 Cadillac Series 62 coupe convertible, a journey of 3,765 miles (6,059 km) which he completed in 32 days.

In 1997, Coltrane appeared in a series of six programmes under the title Coltrane's Planes and Automobiles, in which he extolled the virtues of the steam engine, the diesel engine, the supercharger, the V8 engine, the two-stroke engine, and the jet engine. In these programmes he dismantled and rebuilt several engines. He also single-handedly removed the engine from a Trabant car in 23 minutes.

In August 2007, Coltrane presented a series for ITV called B-Road Britain, in which he travelled from London to Glasgow, stopping in towns and villages along the way.

Coltrane was voted No. 11 in ITV's TV's 50 Greatest Stars and sixth in a poll of 2000 adults across the UK to find the 'most famous Scot', behind the Loch Ness Monster, Robert Burns, Sean Connery, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.

Personal life

Coltrane married Rhona Gemmell on 11 December 1999. The couple have two children: son Spencer (b. 1992), and daughter Alice (b. 1998). Coltrane and Gemmell separated in 2003 and later divorced.[10]

Filmography and awards


Year Title Role Notes
1980 Flash Gordon Man at air field
Death Watch Limousine Driver
1981 Subway Riders Crime Detective
1982 Britannia Hospital Striking worker on picket line Non-speaking role
1983 Ghost Dance George
Krull Rhun
1984 Chinese Boxes Harwood
1985 National Lampoon's European Vacation Man in bathroom
The Supergrass Det. Sgt. Troy
Defence of the Realm Leo McAskey
1986 Caravaggio Scipione
Mona Lisa Thomas
1987 Eat the Rich Jeremy
1988 The Fruit Machine Annabelle
1989 Henry V Falstaff
Bert Rigby, You're a Fool Sid Trample
Let It Ride Ticket Seller
Danny, the Champion of the World Victor Hazell
Slipstream Montclaire
1990 Midnight Breaks Fat
Nuns on the Run Charlie McManus/Sister Inviolata
Perfectly Normal Alonzo Turner
1991 The Pope Must Die The Pope
Triple Bogey on a Par Five Hole Steffano Baccardi
1992 Oh, What a Night Todd Nominated – Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
1993 Boswell & Johnson's Tour of the Western Isles Dr. Samuel Johnson
The Adventures of Huck Finn Duke
1995 GoldenEye Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky
1997 Buddy Dr. Bill Lintz
1998 Frogs for Snakes Al
Montana The Boss
1999 The World Is Not Enough Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky
Message in a Bottle Charlie Toschi
2001 On the Nose Delaney
From Hell Sergeant Peter Godley
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Rubeus Hagrid Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Acting
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Ocean's Twelve Matsui
Van Helsing: The London Assignment Mr. Hyde voice
Van Helsing Mr. Hyde voice
2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Rubeus Hagrid
2006 Stormbreaker The Prime Minister of Europe
Provoked Lord Edward Foster
2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Rubeus Hagrid
2008 The Tale of Despereaux Gregory voice
The Brothers Bloom The Curator
2009 Gooby Gooby voice
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Rubeus Hagrid
2010 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
2012 Brave Lord Dingwall voice
Great Expectations Mr. Jaggers
2014 Effie Doctor


Year Title Role Notes
1979 Play for Today Jimmie "Waterloo Sunset"
1980 The Lost Tribe Border Post Guard "Keep Us Alive"
1981 Metal Mickey Jason "Mickey the Demon Barber"
1981–1984 A Kick Up the Eighties All ten episodes
1981 Keep It in the Family Mr. Conway "A Matter of Principle"
1982 Sin on Saturday
1982 Five Go Mad in Dorset Female shopkeeper / Male gypsy Season 1, Episode 1 of The Comic Strip Presents
1983 Are You Being Served Dynamite-truck driver on CB Radio "Calling All Customers"
Alfresco various
1984 The Young Ones Doctor in Episode "Bambi", Bouncer in Episode "Oil", Captain Blood in "Time"
1987 Blackadder the Third Samuel Johnson "Ink and Incapability"
1987 Tutti Frutti Danny McGlone Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
1988 Blackadder's Christmas Carol The Spirit of Christmas
1989 The Robbie Coltrane Special LWT comedy Special[11]
1990 Danny Champion of the World Victor Hazell
1991 Screen One Psychiatrist Liam Kane "Alive And Kicking"
1993 The Legend of Lochnagar The old man TV film, voice
Cracker Dr. Eddie 'Fitz' Fitzgerald Three British Academy Television Awards for Best Actor (1994, 1995 and 1996)
Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actor
Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor – Male
Nominated – CableACE Award for Best Actor in a Movie or Miniseries
For episode "Brotherly Love" (parts I, II and III).
1997 Coltrane's Planes and Automobiles 6-part Documentary
1998 The Ebb-Tide Capt. Chisholm
1999 Alice in Wonderland Ned Tweedledum
2003 Comic Relief: The Big Hair Do Hagrid
2003 The Planman Jack Lennox QC
2004 Pride James
2004 Frasier Michael Moon "Goodnight, Seattle"
2005 Still Game Davie Season 4 Episode 3: "Dial-A-Bus"
2006 Cracker: Nine Eleven Dr. Eddie 'Fitz' Fitzgerald
2007 Robbie Coltrane – B Road Britain TV Documentary
2009 Murderland D.I. Douglas Hain
2009 The Gruffalo The Gruffalo TV film (children's), voice
2011 Lead Balloon Donald Series 4 Episode 4: "Off"
Series 4 Episode 5: "Blade"
Series 4 Episode 6: "End"
50 Greatest Harry Potter Moments Himself Narrator
The Gruffalo's Child[12] The Gruffalo TV film (children's), voice
2016 National Treasure Paul Finchley TV film
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
2016–present Robbie Coltrane Critical Evidence Host true crime, non fiction, host

Other awards


  1. ^ "Robbie Coltrane's magical career". BBC News. 31 December 2005.
  2. ^ "Robbie Coltrane biography". Tiscali.co.uk. Archived from the original on 8 April 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  3. ^ Paton, Maureen (20 March 2003). "'Hagrid? I'm just Dad'". Telegraph.co.uk. London.
  4. ^ "Scotland on Sunday". Scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  5. ^ "Dr Edward "Fitz" Fitzgerald". Crackertv.co.uk. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  6. ^ "j.k. rowling". Neatorama.com. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  7. ^ Alderson, Andrew (11 November 2001). "'They really do look as I'd imagined they would inside my head'". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 15 August 2011. (Accio Quote!, the Largest Archive of J.K. Rowling quotes on the web)
  8. ^ Ezard, John (5 June 2002). "Size means everything as Harry's big secret slips out". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  9. ^ Femia, Will (13 November 2001). "Chat Flashback: The cinematic debut of Rubeus Hagrid". MSNBC. NBC News. Retrieved 1 October 2016. In real life, I'm 6'1" -- each way pretty well, north and south and east and west, unfortunately
  10. ^ Hughes, Sarah (17 September 2016). "Robbie Coltrane: the jovial giant with an enduring hint of menace". the Guardian.
  11. ^ "The Robbie Coltrane Special". Uk.imdb.com. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  12. ^ "The Gruffalo's Child". BBC One. Retrieved 10 December 2011.