Born as Anthony Robert McMillan in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, Scotland on 30 March 1950, Robbie Coltrane was educated at Glenalmond College, an independent school in Perthshire, from which he was nearly expelled after hanging the prefects’ gowns from the school clocktower. Coltrane later called for private schools to be banned and used to be known as “Red Robbie”, rebelling against his conservative upbringing through involvement with Amnesty International, Greenpeace, the Labour Party and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Coltrane moved into acting in his early twenties, 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… series. He appeared in films such as ‘Flash Gordon’ (1980), ‘Scrubbers’ (1983) and ‘Absolute Beginners’ (1986) and the James Bond movies ‘Goldeneye’ (1995) and ‘The World Is Not Enough’ (1999).
On TV, he appeared in ‘The Young Ones’, ‘Blackadder’ and in a number of stand-up and sketch comedy shows.