Allan Stewart

4th January 2013 at 00:00
A champion and mentor at his primary school helped the entertainer to get his earliest shows on the road

Mr Frame never taught me, but was responsible for putting on the school show at my primary. He was very supportive of me up until I left aged 11 and always starred me in the show.

I was "the little pop star" and played the guitar and sang. I remember doing a song that was big at the time called Speedy Gonzales. There was a funny voice in it and some Spanish.

Mr Frame's school show was my first taste of kids screaming and shouting - and that was me hooked after that. I learned a lot from him. I saw how you could put together a show over three or four months and learned how to write parodies of popular songs, which I used to do a lot of in my acts later on.

Another teacher at the school was a well-known sport commentator, Archie MacPherson. He would go round the class and say: "What do you want to be?" And when I said "a pop star", his reaction was, "Yeah, right, OK." This hurt me, but not as much as he hurt me when he made me do the high jump the day before my 11-plus and I broke my kneecap. I sat the exam in great pain not knowing I had chipped the bone - but I still passed.

Although I always got on with Mr MacPherson, he never saw me doing anything other than going on to be a plumber. But Mr Frame was always behind me.

At primary, I was king of the castle. I got all the Valentine's cards and every year five or six girls were chasing me. But when I went to secondary nobody knew me and I had to climb the ladder again.

It was two years before I had the chance to be in a concert, and after that everyone started noticing me. That's always been how I've got to know people and got friendly with them. I was very shy but not on stage.

During a lot of my education I was out working the clubs at night. By the age of 12, I'd released a record which came out on the Thistle label and my next record was when I was 16 and doing my O levels. That was with George Martin, The Beatles' producer, on Parlophone. Then my voice broke and I was out of the business for a couple of years and got stuck into my school work. I got some sort of certificates, for all the good it did me.

I liked sixth year when they started to treat you like a person, but I hated the first five years of high school. They would not even let me take music. I wanted to do music and art, but I had to do science. At secondary, they just could not understand this was what I wanted to do. I was on TV, doing radio, I had a record out, but still it was: "You have to have something to fall back on."

I would not comply with what the teachers told me. We used to have the belt in those days. I remember once being told to put my hands out and I refused - I wasn't doing anything wrong. That was quite brave for a 13-year-old. My dad was up a couple of times at the headmaster.

When I started doing TV, there was a little bit of bullying - "Just who do you think you are?" stuff. Because I was making money, I used to have my blazer made to measure, which was a bit flash, and I had my own Mini in sixth year. But it was never enough to be described as bad bullying.

Allan Stewart is starring alongside Andy Gray and Grant Stott in Mother Goose, this year's pantomime at the King's Theatre in Edinburgh. Mother Goose runs until Sunday, 20 January. Tickets can be booked on 0131 529 6000 or online at He was speaking to Emma Seith.


Born: Glasgow, 1950

Education: Garrowhill Primary, Glasgow; Coatbridge High, North Lanarkshire

Career: comedian and entertainer.

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