Veteran Scottish actor Ken Stott has revealed he would “jump at the chance” to play Inspector Rebus again – but fears he may be too old for the role.
The 63-year-old said he had not been approached about reviving his role as the grizzled detective in a new adaptation of Ian Rankin’s novels, which has been announced a decade after Rebus was last on screen.
Stott, who played Rebus on screen in the last incarnation, which was on air between in 2006 and 2007, said he felt it was “probably time to pass it on to a younger man”.
But speaking at the Bafta Scotland Awards in Glasgow on Sunday night, Stott said that he would not hesitate to get involved in the series, which was announced earlier this year.
The Edinburgh-born actor, who succeeded John Hannah in the adaptations, said the long-form format was much better suited to a book adaptation than an hour-long episode.
Gregory Burke, the award-winning playwright behind Black Watch and Gagarin Way, is already attached to the project. At the time it was announced, Rankin said he had his “fingers crossed” that Stott would be returning to play the detective.
Independent producer Eleventh Hour Films, which has acquired the television rights to Rankin’s books, said it wants Burke to create “a bold and visionary take for a contemporary international TV audience”.
Stott said: “I would definitely be up for doing Rebus again – I enjoyed every minute of it. We always found it a problem to try to get a whole book into 50 minutes. It was a really difficult thing to do.
“I’ll let them worry about the casting of the new series. But someone else will have to fight me for it first. If I was approached again the answer would be ‘Yes.’
“It was particularly nice to be working in Scotland. It puts a spring in your step when you are walking down the street and people are going, ‘Hiya, how are you doing?’ It was really nice. You don’t get that in London.
“I’m getting old now. I maybe wouldn’t be able to hold down the job as a detective. I think it’s probably time to pass it on to a younger man.
“There was an idea that Rebus could come back to do cold cases. I thought it was a splendid idea and I was very happy to get involved in that, but I’ve not heard any more about that.
“I’ve not been approached about the new series. If I’m a writer I’m going to want to write the whole damn thing. I’m not going to want to stick to Rebus coming out of retirement to do a couple of cold cases.
“But if I got the opportunity to do the whole canon I would jump at it.”
A spokeswoman for Eleventh Hour Films said: “Screenwriter Gregory Burke is only just beginning the script development process for Rebus and, therefore, we are not yet thinking about casting.”
Burke said of the project: “It is an honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to work on adapting an iconic character like John Rebus for television.”
The prospect of Rebus returning to the nation’s TV screens was revealed in May shortly after the 30th anniversary of the publication of Knots and Crosses, the first Rebus novel.
Rankin said at the time: “I’m so thrilled and honoured that Gregory Burke is bringing his outstanding storytelling talent to Rebus. As far as I’m concerned it’s the perfect match.”