Euan McGrory: Still Game star Jimmy Martin is an inspiration

Jimmy Martin as Auld Eric in Still Game. Pic: BBC pictures
Jimmy Martin as Auld Eric in Still Game. Pic: BBC pictures
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There wasn’t a dry eye in the house at the end.

Still Game proved once again why it has become a national institution - and its cast national treasures - when it killed off one of its best-loved characters. Auld Eric, played by Musselburgh actor Jimmy Martin, will be missed by the show’s millions of fans. At 87, Jimmy himself will enjoy the rest - although he is keen to ensure casting directors know that he is Still Game for other work.

For those who don’t know Jimmy’s story, it is an inspiration. After retiring injured from the fire service in his 30s, he decided to grab life by the scruff of the neck. Signing up for a drama course at Telford College, he found himself surroundied by students little more than half his age.

Life (or a new life) really did begin for him at the age of 40, because that is when he became a fulltime actor. Little could he have known at the time what lay ahead - a career spanning almost half a century and counting, with a Bafta award-winning show on his CV.

None of us ever really know what is around the corner, but Jimmy’s career shows what is possible when you take a leap of faith, and back it up with talent and dedication. Not bad for a self-proclaimed “greetin’ faced old bugger”.