Trainspotting actor Robert Carlyle confirms spin-off TV show about Begbie is in the works

Scottish actor Robert Carlyle has said a TV adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting spin-off novel, The Blade Artist, is in the works.
A Trainspotting spin-off TV series about Begbie is in the works, says Robert CarlyleA Trainspotting spin-off TV series about Begbie is in the works, says Robert Carlyle
A Trainspotting spin-off TV series about Begbie is in the works, says Robert Carlyle

Carlyle, 60, played moustachioed psychopath Francis Begbie in Danny Boyle’s 1996 cult classic and its 2017 sequel T2: Trainspotting.

Since then, rumours have been circulating that a third film could become a reality – but now it seems a small-screen adaptation of The Blade Artist will arrive first.

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In an interview with music bible NME, Glasgow-born Carlyle said: “Irvine [Welsh] and myself have been chatting quite a lot recently with a couple of excellent producers in London about [continuing the Trainspotting story].

“As you know there was another book called The Blade Artist which is just entirely about Begbie and his mad story. It’s still in its early moments but it’s looking pretty good that this will happen eventually.

“I think we’re thinking about doing it as six one-hour ‘television event piece’, as they say nowadays,” Carlyle continued.

“Whatever that means. But it seemed to me to be right to look at it like that, and Irvine loved that idea. It’s such a massive story – it’s all Los Angeles back and forth to Edinburgh – and it’s difficult to do all that in an hour and a half.

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“Especially if you want to keep the basis of that book pure. I think nowadays people like the event thing too – they like ‘six hours of this… bang.’ They can boxset it. They can binge it.

“So after a few chats we thought that’s the way forward. So that’s the plan. Sometime in the next year and a bit we’ll hopefully be talking again and we’ll be talking about the return of Begbie.”

Edinburgh author Welsh has written five books about the Trainspotting characters, of which The Blade Artist is the fourth.

After the 1993 original, Welsh went on to publish the 2002 sequel Porno, the 2012 prequel Skagboys, The Blade Artist, and then Dead Man‘s Trousers in 2018.

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Published in 2016, The Blade Artist shows Begbie’s softer side. Now going by the name of Jim Francis, he’s finally found the perfect life in California.

“A successful painter and sculptor, he lives quietly with his wife, Melanie, and their two young daughters, in an affluent beach town in California,” the book’s description reads.

“Some say that he’s a fake and a con man, while others see him as a genuine visionary.

“But Francis has a very dark past, with another identity and a very different set of values. When he crosses the Atlantic to his native Scotland, for the funeral of a murdered son he barely knew, his old Edinburgh community expects him to take bloody revenge. But as he confronts his previous life, all those friends and enemies – and, most alarmingly, his former self – Francis seems to have other ideas.

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“When Melanie discovers something gruesome in California, which indicates that her husband’s violent past might also be his psychotic present, things start to go very bad, very quickly.”

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