Roddy McMillan

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Roddy McMillan
Born(1923-03-23)23 March 1923
Glasgow, Scotland
Died 9 July 1979(1979-07-09) (aged 56)
Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Occupation Actor

Roddy McMillan (23 March 1923 9 July 1979) was a Scottish actor and playwright, possibly most famous for his comedy role as Para Handy for BBC Scotland's television series, The Vital Spark . He also played the lead role in Edward Boyd's private eye series, The View from Daniel Pike .

Para Handy, the anglicised Gaelic nickname of the fictional character Peter Macfarlane, is a character created by the journalist and writer Neil Munro in a series of stories published in the Glasgow Evening News between 1905 and 1923 under the pen name of Hugh Foulis.

BBC Scotland Scottish division of the British Broadcasting Corporation

BBC Scotland is a division of the BBC and the main public broadcaster in Scotland.

The Vital Spark was a BBC Scotland television series set in the western isles of Scotland in the 1930s, based on the Para Handy books by Neil Munro. It starred Roddy McMillan as Peter "Para Handy" MacFarlane, captain of the puffer Vital Spark.



The Glasgow-born McMillan's earliest theatre work began in the mid-1940s with the Glasgow Unity Theatre. Later that decade, he began acting with the Glasgow Citizen's Company before moving on to Edinburgh's Gateway Theatre in the mid-1950s. [1]

Glasgow City and council area in Scotland

Glasgow is the most populous city in Scotland, and the third most populous city in the United Kingdom, as of the 2017 estimated city population of 621,020. Historically part of Lanarkshire, the city now forms the Glasgow City council area, one of the 32 council areas of Scotland; the local authority is Glasgow City Council. Glasgow is situated on the River Clyde in the country's West Central Lowlands. Inhabitants of the city are referred to as "Glaswegians" or "Weegies". It is the fourth most visited city in the UK. Glasgow is also known for the Glasgow patter, a distinct dialect of the Scots language that is noted for being difficult to understand by those from outside the city.

The Glasgow Unity Theatre was a theatre group that was formed in 1941, in Glasgow. The Unity theatre movement developed from workers' drama groups in the 1930s, seeing itself as using theatre to highlight the issues of the working class being produced by and for working-class audiences. The movement had strong links with the Communist Party of Great Britain and the Left Book Club Theatre Guild.

Edinburgh City and council area in Scotland

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.

He also performed in his own play, The Bevellers, which achieved success in performance at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow during 1973 and then as a televised Play for Today for BBC. McMillan also played Detective Inspector "Choc" Minty in the late 1970s private eye series, Hazell , starring Nicholas Ball.

Citizens Theatre theatre in Glasgow, Scotland

The Citizens Theatre, in what was the Royal Princess's Theatre, is the creation of James Bridie and is based in Glasgow, Scotland as a principal producing theatre. The theatre includes a 500-seat Main Auditorium, and two studio theatres, the Circle Studio and the Stalls Studio.

<i>Play for Today</i> television series

Play for Today is a British television anthology drama series, produced by the BBC and transmitted on BBC1 from 1970 to 1984. During the run, more than three hundred programmes, featuring original television plays, and adaptations of stage plays and novels, were transmitted. The individual episodes were between fifty and a hundred minutes in duration. A handful of these plays, including Rumpole of the Bailey and The Blackstuff, subsequently became television series in their own right.

Hazell is a British television series that ran from 1978–1979, about a fictional private detective named James Hazell.


1950The Gorbals StoryHector
1950 Morning Departure Leading Seaman Andrews
1952 You're Only Young Twice Milligan
1953 Laxdale Hall Willie John Watt
1954 The Maggie Inverkerran Driver
1958 Cat & Mouse Mr. Pomeroy
1959 The Bridal Path Murdo
1960 The Battle of the Sexes Macleod
1960 The Big Day Bob
1962 A Prize of Arms Sgt. McVie
1962 The Amorous Prawn Pvt. McTavish
1963 The Mouse on the Moon Benter
1969 Ring of Bright Water Busdriver
1972 Chato's Land Gavin Malechie
1978 Sweeney 2 Collie


Roddy McMillan died following a heart attack, aged 56, not long after completing filming on the second series of Hazell. [2]

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  1. "STA Catalogue: Roddy McMillan". University of Glasgow Special Collections. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  2. "'Tough guy' TV actor dies at 56". The Guardian. 10 July 1979.
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