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Robert Carlyle to return as Francis Begbie in TV ‘Trainspotting’ sequel ‘The Blade Artist’

It's his third time portraying the psychotic character

By Joe Goggins

Robert Carlyle as Francis Begbie in 'The Blade Artist'
Robert Carlyle as Francis Begbie in 'The Blade Artist' (Picture: Buccaneer Media)

Robert Carlyle will reprise his role as ‘Trainspotting’s Francis Begbie in a TV adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s ‘The Blade Artist’.

The Scottish actor will play the psychotic character for a third time on screen, in a six-parter being produced by Buccaneer Media.

Published in 2016, ‘The Blade Artist’ is Welsh’s second sequel to his 1993 cult classic, after 2002’s ‘Porno’. It finds an apparently reformed Begbie returning to Edinburgh from his new life and identity in Los Angeles, where he’s swiftly confronted with ghosts from his past.

Carlyle, who will also executive produce, previously returned to the part in 2017 for Danny Boyle’s ‘T2 Trainspotting’, which was loosely based on ‘Porno’.

No network or streamer is currently attached to ‘The Blade Artist’, although Buccaneer are already working with Welsh on adapting his 2008 novel ‘Crime’ for TV; the series is currently in post-production.

The production company’s CEOs, Tony Wood and Richard Tulk-Hart, join Carlyle as exective producers. The actor told Deadline that the prospect of returning to one of his most iconic roles was “an absolute gift”.

Welsh said: “Begbie is Begbie and Robert is the long-term friend and collaborator who inspirationally brought the character to life with his incendiary portrayal.

“To say I’m excited at us reuniting creatively on this project is obviously something of an understatement.”

Carlyle had already hinted at the miniseries last week in an interview with NME.

Asked about further work with Welsh whilst promoting his Sky political drama ‘COBRA’, he said: “Irvine and myself have been chatting quite a lot recently with a couple of excellent producers in London about [a continuation of the Trainspotting story].

“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! 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.”

T2 Trainspotting was a hit with critics and audiences alike in 2017, sitting at 81% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and grossing £42.1 million worldwide.