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Friday, 15 June, 2001, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
Byrne nets MBE award
John Byrne
John Byrne (centre) is also a celebrated artist
Scottish artist and playwright John Byrne has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours list for services to literature and the theatre.

Byrne, who celebrated his 60th birthday last year with an exhibition at Paisley's Museum and Art Gallery, is perhaps best known for his BAFTA-award winning comedy Tutti Frutti.

Byrne, whose plays includes the Slab Boys and Your Cheatin' Heart, is also a celebrated artist with his artwork adorning albums by The Beatles, Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connolly.

Born in Paisley in 1940, he was brought up in the tough Ferguslie Park housing estate.

John Byrne
John Byrne: Tutti Frutti brought him critical acclaim

He went on to study art and attended both Glasgow and Edinburgh colleges of art in the early 1960s.

His first attempts to get recognition as an artist only bore fruit when he portrayed himself as Patrick, the gifted son of a busker, rather than a recent art school graduate.

He got his first solo exhibition in London in 1968 and has gone on to exhibit all over the world.

His first play - Writer's Cramp - debuted on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1977.

Propelled to acclaim

That was followed by the award-winning Slab Boys, which tells the story of three workers in a Paisley carpet factory who dream of escaping to pursue a life in rock 'n' roll.

The play was later adapted for the silver screen and made its debut at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1996.

However, it was the smash hit BBC TV comedy Tutti Frutti that propelled Byrne to popular acclaim.

Starring Robby Coltrane, Emma Thompson and Richard Wilson, it told the story of the silver jubilee tour of rock band The Majestics.

First shown in March 1987, it was awarded a BAFTA in the same year.

Married to actress Tilda Swinton, Byrne lives in Tain, Sutherland, with young children Xavier and Honor.

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


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