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  • Billy Connolly jokes with a visitor to the Famous Scots exhibition at the Scotlandspeople Centre, Edinburgh.
    Comedian, Billy Connolly (L)
  • Dougie Maclean choosing a barrel at the Ebradour Distillery to become 'Caledonia' single malt.
    Singer Dougie Maclean (R)
  • Ewan McGregor is interviewed on the red carpet at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
    Actor Ewan McGregor © Edinburgh International Film Festival

The music scene and the silver screen have long attracted the best of Scottish talent. Whether it be Sean Connery’s quintessential portrayal of sauve James Bond or the mournful lilt of Dougie Maclean singing about his homeland in 'Caledonia', Scotland’s creative talent is known the world over. Scots don’t just excel at music or theatrics; some of Britain’s most famous comedic exports were born north of the border, including Billy Connolly and Sir Harry Lauder.

Tom Anderson 1910 - 1991

Tom Anderson MBE was a fiddler, composer, folklorist and teacher who was a profoundly influential figure in the development of Shetland music.

Aly Bain 1946 -

Aly Bain was born and grew up in Lerwick in the Shetland Islands. He stared playing the fiddle at eleven learning the art from another famous Shetland musician, Tom Anderson. His gift to bring the music alive through with his dramatic playing, tone and technical ability soon made him famous. He moved to mainland Scotland where he helped to establish The Boys of the Loch and began a career that continues today. In 1992, Aly was awarded an MBE for his services to folk music.

Robert Carlyle 1961 -

Born in Glasgow, he has gone on to be regarded as one of the best British actors of his generation. Trainspotting was the first film to bring him major recognition and this was followed by the box office success, The Full Monty. He is also well know for his role as local policeman, Hamish MacBeth, set in Plockton in the Highlands and villain Renard in the James Bond film The World is Not Enough.

Robbie Coltrane 1950 -

Born in 1950 in Rutherglen, Robbie Coltrane has gone on to become an accomplished actor and comedian. His many roles include Danny in Tutti Frutti, Valentin Zukovsky in James Bond films Golden Eye and The World is Not Enough, and numerous roles in the comic strip productions. He is best known for his portrayal of the gambling, alcoholic psychologist Fitz in the drama Cracker.

Sean Connery 1930 -

Sean Connery was born the Fountainbridge area of Edinburgh. He left school early to work and had a variety of jobs including milkman, labourer, lifeguard and even a nude model for art classes. He drifted into acting and began performing on plays. His first TV appearance was in 1956 which led to a contract with MGM. He appeared in a few low-key films before being offer the role of James Bond in the 1962 film Dr No. The role of Bond was one he was to reprise for a number of years but eventually he wanted to try more varied roles. He continues to be one of Hollywood's leading actors with many award-winning performances throughout his career.

Billy Connolly 1942 -

Born in Glasgow, he started his career as a welder in the dockyards on the River Clyde. During the 1960s, he was a member of a successful folk band called The Humblebums but it was soon clear that his jokes were taking over the show. During the 70s, he became famous in his own right as a comedian and a writer both on stage and on television. His career flourished and he began acting. His credits include Head of the Class, Big Man and as John Brown in the Oscar-winning film Mrs Brown.

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies 1934 -

Although he is originally from Manchester, he has lived on Hoy in the Orkney Islands since 1970 and has composed the majority of his work from there. He has been greatly influenced by his surroundings and he frequently draws on Orcadian and Scottish subject matter for his music. He has also been significantly influenced by George MacKay Brown. With two hundred published works in every medium, he is universally regarded as one of the foremost composers of our time.

Sheena Easton 1959 -

She was born Sheena Shirley Orr in Bellshill, near Glasgow. Inspired to become a singer, she attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and graduated in 1979. Very soon afterwards she was recording albums and winning awards. She has also pursued a career in film and her appearances include Miami Vice and Outer Limits.

Bill Forsyth 1946 -

Bill Forsyth was born in 1946 in Glasgow. He has had a successful career as a director, writer and occasional producer. He is most famed for the 1983 film Local Hero which was nominated for 6 British Academy Awards. Local Hero was filmed in the Aberdeenshire village of Pennan.

Evelyn Glennie 1965 -

Evelyn Glennie was born in Aberdeen and grew up near by. She began studying percussion at an early age but by the age of 12, her hearing had deteriorated and she was pronounced profoundly deaf. Her determination and great talent has led her to play with the top orchestras and conductors of the world and in recognition of her music she has achieved many awards, including a Grammy.

Neil Gow 1727 - 1807

Neil Gow lived all his life in Inver, a small settlement on the west of the Tay. He was renowned as a composer and player of reels and strathspeys, some as settings for words by Burns who was his contemporary.

Sir Harry Lauder 1870 - 1950

Born in Portobello, he became one of the most famous comics to come out of Scotland. He attracted many critics as his humour was seen to support a derogatory although benign stereotype of Scotland. He was at the top of his profession for 50 years, filling halls across the country.

Annie Lennox 1954 -

Born in Aberdeen on Christmas day, Annie Lennox has had a hugely successful career both with The Eurythmics and in her solo career. She showed signs of her musical talent at an early age and was accepted into the Royal Academy of Music at 17. She later joined forces with Dave Stewart to form The Eurythmics and together hey enjoyed major success during the 1980s with songs such as 'Sweet Dreams' and 'Here Comes the Rain Again'. The Eurythmics spilt in 1989 and Annie Lennox went on to establish herself as a solo artist, with her album 'Diva' which won her major acclaim, including a Grammy. Recently, she was reunited with Dave Stewart and they released an album entitled 'Peace'.

Kelly Macdonald 1976 - 

Kelly Macdonald is a Glasgow-born actress, known for her role in the independent film Trainspotting as well as mainstream releases such as Nanny McPhee, Gosford Park, No Country for Old Men, and Brave. On television she is known for her roles in Broadway Empire and State of Play.

Dougie MacLean 1954 -

Dougie MacLean was brought up in rural Perthshire to a Gaelic background. It was clear he had a talent for music from an early age and he has gone on to become one of Scotland's most successful singer/songwriters. One of his best known songs is 'Caledonia' which reached number 1 in the Scottish charts in 1992.

Ian McDiarmid 1944 -

Ian McDiarmid was born in Carnoustie and grew up in Dundee. He attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and following that he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. He is probably best known Senator Palpaltine in the Star Wars films but he is also a hugely successful and influential artistic director.

Kevin McKidd 1973 - 

Kevin McKidd was born in Elgin and is a Scottish television and film actor and director. Before playing the role of Owen Hunt in Grey's Anatomy, McKidd starred in such roles as Tommy in Trainspotting, Count Vronsky in the BBC's adaptation of Anna Karenina as well as in the historical drama series Rome.

Ewan McGregor 1971 -

Ewan McGregor was born in Crieff in 1971. He wanted to be an actor from a young age and began by studying at drama at Kirkcaldy in Fife and then attended London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was shot to fame in the cult film Shallow Grave and followed that with the hard-hitting drama Trainspotting. His world-wide recognition has come from his role as the Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels. He has a long list of achievements under his belt and he shows no signs of slowing down.

Donnie Munro 1953 -

Donald Munro was born in Uig in the north of the Isle of Skye. He was brought up in the bilingual culture of English and Gaelic until he left to study in Edinburgh as an art teacher. He joined the band that would eventually be Runrig in 1973. The band have had great recording success and Donnie Munro has become a household name. His reputation as an eloquent spokesperson for Scotland led him into politics which he still has a keen interest in. Today, he is involved with projects that are preserving the Gaelic language and is still performing his unique concerts.