Paul Brannigan shot to fame this year when he starred in Ken Loach film The Angels’ Share, which was nominated for a prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
Now, as part of next week’s line-up of special programmes for the STV Appeal, the young actor wonders what the legacy of Scotland’s poverty is on future generations.
From the drug dens of Glasgow to the glittering lights of Hollywood, Paul has come a long way, but can anyone truly escape the legacy brought by generations of Scots born into poverty?
He told us how he came to be involved in Born To Lose – and why he thinks the programme, on STV on Wednesday at 8pm, matters.
Paul explained: “For me the show is about telling different stories, and also showing that no matter where you come from, no matter how much of a bad upbringing you’ve had – and a rough upbringing – you can change it.”
Of filming back on the streets where he grew up, he said: “It was strange standing in the streets where I used to live, because it’s all changed now, but I was going through the emotions that I used to go through when I was a kid.”
A father to a four-year-old boy himself, Paul wanted to know what effect the life he and his ancestors led has had both on his own health and his son Leo’s. In the show he takes us back to his time as the child of two heroin addicts in a rundown tenement.
Paul reveals the life of gang violence and crime – including a stay at Polmont Prison as a young offender – that he is desperate to leave behind, and for Leo to never experience. He also revisits the institution in which he was placed as a teenager.
“The trip to Polmont was quite emotional,” Paul told us. “My hand was sweating, my heart was racing. Again, I was looking into the prison and I was thinking to myself about the thoughts and feelings I went through when I was in there.”
He added: “It definitely brought up a lot of emotions and a lot of stuff that was still lying at the back of my mind.
“But it just allowed me to express them for a good cause, which I was happy to do.”
- Born To Lose is on STV this Wednesday at 8pm.