Dec 9 2011 by Jennifer Buchanan, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
HE’S directed the likes of Ralph Fiennes and Sean Bean.
And now Andrew Neil from Ayrshire has written a television sitcom set in Patna, Mossblown and Annbank.
Andrew was born in Annbank to a mining family in 1943.
But when he was 22-years-old, Andrew decided to turn to the arts.
He explained: “I’d never acted in my life but I decided that’s what I wanted to do.
“I applied to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London, purely because I didn’t know any other drama schools.
“I was so clueless I moved to London just when I got my audition, I had no idea about anything.”
Luckily Andrew was accepted and the first thing the prestigious school did with their new student was record him speaking for their accents library.
But while Andrew was busy studying for the next two years his parents, Andrew and Mary, had no idea what their son was doing in London.
Andrew, now 68, said: “They thought I was working in an office or something.
“The first thing they heard about it was when the papers called them when I got an award when I was graduating.
“They didn’t even have a phone in the house, the papers had to phone the village pub to try and find them.”
Andrew and Mary however, were thrilled to visit him in London.
He recalled: “But they got flown down to London and put up in a posh hotel so I think they forgave me.”
Andrew’s dad worked in the mines all his life.
He moved the family to Mossblown when Andrew was two-and-a-half before eventually ending up in Patna.
And despite having lived in London for years, the area and time still has a special place in Andrew’s heart.
So the dad-of-three made it the setting for his six part comedy, Up The Doon.
Andrew said: “I’ve written a few stage and screen pieces over the years but this is the first thing I’ve ever written for myself.”
Andrew wrote the first episode when he was on holiday in Greece.
He then showed it to his pal and Star Wars actor Denis Lawson, who told him to get it finished and sent to the production companies.
Andrew added: “It’s had great reviews from everyone I’ve showed it to.”
But he admitted that it’s a not easy to find someone to produce it, adding: “Trying to get these things broadcast is very difficult now.
“I’m hopeful but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Up the Doon is set in the present day and the lead character, Alec, is a retired coal miner from Patna.
If anyone would like to read the script it is available to buy on Amazon.co.uk