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Category: Dear Frankie News
Article Date: January 4, 2004 | Publication: The Sunday Herald | Author: Eva Arrighi

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Scotland's future depends on one thing: its people. As we enter 2004, we profile the personalities who will be making headlines this year - and during the years to come - in the cultural and political life of the nation. Here, in words and pictures, are some of those who will help shape tomorrow's Scotland


Jonathan Saunders, designer

Scotland has waited decades for a home-grown designer to match fashion giants Jean Muir and Bill Gibb. In Jonathan Saunders, it looks like we have found him. Following his ecstatically received first show at London Fashion Week, the 25 -year-old Glaswegian got into his stride last year, selling his 2004 Spring Summer Collection to such prestigious stores as Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty in Britain, Gallerie Lafayette in Paris and Henri Bendel in the US.

A graduate of Glasgow School of Art and Central Saint Martin's, his vision is decidedly on-message. In fact, when Elizabeth Jagger put the boot into Stella during that interview, it was to say she'd rather wear Saunders any day of the week.

Conde Nast have signalled their transatlantic approval of Saunders via a page profile in December's American Vogue, while this month, his eye-popping purple and lime silk "Ziggy" dress graces the cover of British Vogue. His ability to beat the more established designers to these coveted spots is no mean feat, but then Saunders has been a key player in the backrooms of the most innovative design houses, consulting on prints for Christian Lacroix, Chloe and Alexander McQueen, who famously hired him two days after his 2002 graduation.

Eva Arrighi


Emily Pollet, actress

Few actors get to play a Shakespearian lead in their first year in the business, but as Emily Pollet knows, it's a privilege to be cherished. Last summer, she left London's Central School of Drama and by mid-July she had begun a one-year contract as a graduate member of Dundee Rep's resident ensemble.

It was also a return to her roots. Now 26, Pollet was born in Aberdeen to doctor parents who had both lived for a spell in Dundee. The family later moved to Cheshire and she graduated in French and drama at Birmingham University, then moved to London to attend Central. But, she says: "I don't feel like a foreigner."

Her first role was as Viola in Twelfth Night, a part she carried off with aplomb, mastering the difficult trick of looking surprised as the predictable denouement unfolded. In The Danny Crowe Show, she played the unfortunate Lynette, whose desire to appear on television is so acute, she tries to make a half-finished boob-job her claim to fame. Most recently, she gave a flighty performance as Wendy in Peter Pan, which finished last night.

Later this month, she'll be touring with Twelfth Night; in the spring she'll take roles in David Kane's comedy Dumbstruck and Howard Barker's Scenes From An Execution. Her Dundee contract continues until May, after which she plans to return to London. "I'd love to work at the Donmar or the National," she says. "But mostly, I just want to keep working."

Andrew Burnet

inside information

Kevin Dunion, Scottish parliament's incomingfreedom of information tsar

Last year, Dunion published Troublemakers, a book about activists who've struggled against the odds for environmental justice in Scotland. This year, Dunion won't make life easy for public authorities. For 11 years Friends of the Earth Scotland's director, as Scottish information commissioner, he's the man to whom anyone refused information by a public agency will be able to appeal. He assumes his full powers in 2005, and in the meantime he'll be working to ensure public bodies are instituting procedures to deliver the freedom of information for which MSPs voted. Dunion is already credited with responsibility for forcing a ministerial U-turn on school league tables, when education minister, Peter Peacock, revised plans to withhold comparative information on different schools' exam performances after Dunion pointed out that it could contravene freedom of information legislation.

Similar clashes are likely in 2004 - for instance, over public-private partnerships. Dunion appears determined to carve out a role as a genuinely independent commissioner and friends say he's preparing to be bullish where necessary. In other words, to carry on making trouble.

James Hamilton


Louise Welsh, novelist

This year's publication of Welsh's second novel will consolidate the success she achieved with much-lauded thriller, The Cutting Room. Tamburlaine Must Die is one of Canongate's lead titles for this year, and part of a series of fictions involving long-dead writers. "It's an adventure story about the last days of Christopher Marlowe," says Welsh of her new work, "with spies, chases, swashbuckling, and ambiguous sexuality. It's a fun read." Also in the pipeline is a Radio 4 play set in Edinburgh's subterranean catacombs, which she describes as "a Blair Witch for radio". The film of The Cutting Room goes into production this winter with Robert Carlyle still attached to the project. Meanwhile, negotiations are under way for The Citizens's stage production of The Cutting Room to open off Broadway in February or March.

Colette Paul, novelist and short story writer

Yet another graduate of Glasgow University's creative writing course (its alumni include Louise Welsh, Anne Donovan and Rachel Seiffert), Colette Paul publishes her debut short story collection, Whoever You Choose To Love, in May (Weidenfeld and Nicolson). Glasgow - the city in which the 23-year-old has spent her life - forms the backdrop to her stories and the novel she is currently writing "at an alarmingly slow rate". Paul's stories are firmly rooted firmly within a realist tradition; influences include Alice Munro, Richard Ford, Flannery O'Conor, and Elizabeth Taylor ("not the actress"). Her publisher describes her works as quirky, poignant, optimistic and melancholy, and they all deal with relationships.

Bob McDevitt, publisher

Since the press announced Bob McDevitt was heading up Hodder Headline's new Scottish division, he's been inundated with unsolicited manuscripts and calls from unpublished writers. "There's a certain amount of madness," he says. "People with manuscripts that have lain under their beds far too long and been rejected by every publisher." Hodder Headline is Britain's fourth biggest publishing company and when McDevitt opens the new imprint in Paisley next year, he'll seek to commission major titles in crime and literary fiction, biography, cookery ... "I can find a home for just about everything," he says.

The 36-year-old was offered the job after a chance dinner conversation with his old boss at Hodder Headline, for whom he'd previously worked as an account manager in London. "I honestly wasn't pitching for the job", he says of that fateful meal, while admitting he's glad of the chance to make a difference.

Colin Waters


Nathan Coley

This 36-year old Glaswegian artist already has an impressive track record, but this summer's Edinburgh Fruitmarket Gallery solo show should make him a household name. Coley is working on a special commission for the exhibition: a cardboard scale model of each of the 300 places of worship listed in Edinburgh's Yellow Pages. "Fundamentally, they're places where people gather," says Coley, "and I'm gathering them together. So it'll be the first time that the Central Mosque will sit right beside a synagogue and all of the different factions of the Church of Scotland will be closer than they probably want to be."

As unofficial artist in residence at the Lockerbie trial, Coley's replica of the witness box was included in last year's big exhibition, Days Like These, at Tate Britain, and will feature in the Fruitmarket show - returning it to Scotland's political seat of power, says Coley. The only British artist selected for this year's Sydney Biennale, Coley will exhibit in a "rather genteel post-imperial botanical gardens" just along the harbour from the Sydney Opera House. "I'm re-introducing a piece of modernist architecture which was designed in the 1950s but never built, so I'm making a kind of ghost of something that never was."

Also this year, Coley's project Show Home will tour England and Ireland, his Lockerbie drawings will go to New York, and Coley travels to Israel to make a film for Dundee's Cooper Gallery.

Catriona Black


Jack Perry, incoming chief executiveat Scottish Enterprise

Taking on a job pivotal to Scotland's economy would be a big enough challenge without taking over from a predecessor who resigned citing the pressure caused by the goldfish bowl of publicity. Jack Perry, former Ernst and Young senior accountant and CBI Scotland chairman, is expected to favour a low-key, softly -softly approach.

Perry, 49, was born in Glasgow to American parents, and spent his early years in Ohio. He'll seek to encourage a similar sense of enterprise in Scotland, a place he is "passionate" about. His new job will allow him to "share that enthusiasm with anyone who wants to start a business, grow a business or develop their skills or technologies".

At the CBI, Perry was critical of Scottish Executive policies over issues like planning and transport. His new job will involve implementing - and perhaps defending - its economic development policy. It will be interesting to see how he makes that change, at the head of a network widely believed could deliver more towards Scotland's prosperity. A popular choice with the business community, Perry will have to build relationships at Holyrood with politicians and civil servants and with local government.

Ken Symon


Glenn Campbell, BBC political correspondent

Amid widespread disillusionment with the political process, Glenn Campbell's career is flourishing. The Islay-born journalist has, in the past two years, established himself on television and radio as BBC Scotland's political correspondent and, according to senior BBC executives, the best has yet to come. "Glenn has a big future," says one insider. "He has the poise and charisma of a natural broadcaster and is very comfortable on screen. His ability puts him in the frame for bigger programmes."

Campbell is building a reputation for finding his own stories, as well as presenting. After writing to then Nato secretary general George (Lord) Robertson, of Port Ellen, last summer, he discovered that US President George W Bush planned to award Robertson the presidential medal of freedom. "We beat the papers on that one," remarks Campbell.

The Glasgow University graduate landed a job at Radio Clyde in 1996 before moving to Scot FM, eventually joining the BBC in October 2001. Reporting Scotland, Holyrood Live and, more recently, the Politics Show, have established him on television.

Although reluctant to discuss his future, Campbell admits to a love for radio and interest in world affairs. Holidaying in Boston on September 11, he headed immediately for New York and was soon reporting live on radio. At just 27, Glenn Campbell's future looks bright.

Arthur MacMillan


David Martin, MEP

The bookies won't take bets on David Martin returning as one of Scotland's representatives after June's Euro polls. Topping Labour's list, the one-time stockbroker-turned animal rights activist who's spent 20 years in the Euro parliament is a dead cert.

Less assured is the 49-year-old's longer-term political future, as he's expected to make a second run at the parliament's presidency. Being senior vice -president - and the fact no socialist has held the post since 1994 - should help. But with 10 new countries sending representatives and Scotland losing MEP seats as a result, the socialist grouping's backing may fall short of what Martin needs. If unsuccessful this summer, the wheeler-dealing of Euro-politics may finally deliver him a top job deferral until 2007.

Douglas Fraser


Sarah Davidson,civil service high-flyer

Director of the Holyrood parliament building project since 2000, this 32-year old will spend the early part of the year dealing with the next stages of the Fraser Inquiry. By early September, she hopes to swap the hard hat and steel toe-capped wellies for something more elegant, ready to usher MSPs into Holyrood's new debating chamber.

One of the brightest stars of her public sector generation, Davidson grew up in Edinburgh and studied history and art at Oxford. Recruited into the Scottish Office fast stream, she worked on roads and criminal justice before becoming private secretary to pre-devolution ministers Brian Wilson, Sam Galbraith and Helen Liddell. A committee clerk when the Scottish parliament was set up, Davidson moved into the Holyrood project after it had already become more pear -shaped than upturned boats. As secretary of the MSP group in charge of it, she accepted the director's poisoned chalice. Being young, female and inexperienced in construction, the job has taken bags of confidence, a thick skin, dry sense of humour and - her colleagues agree - plenty of ability.

Davidson has avoided handling the migration of MSPs down the Royal Mile, and side-stepped the potential nightmare of resolving contractual disputes likely to go on for years. So she intends to take off later this year for six months of travel with her new husband, before almost certainly returning to the Scottish Executive, unless her experience of steering a complex and troubled government contract has the private sector big bucks beckoning.

Douglas Fraser


Franz Ferdinand

There are two schools of rock'n'roll. The elementary one says play from your heart and guts. The other, which is a bit more like art college, says, yeah, okay, but make sure the sound is right and check your image in the mirror. Maybe Franz Ferdinand don't know exactly what they're doing, but they know how to act like it.

Since coming together two years ago, this band have spun a scene around themselves with almost Warholian acumen - the educated zing of their name, the brilliance of their song titles (Shopping For Blood, Love And Destroy), the sharpness of their look (precise fringes, pointy boots, tucked-in shirts) and the pop-mythic sense of their own history that they've wittily propagandised since their first live performance in their friend Celia's bedroom.

Having established headquarters in an abandoned Gorbals warehouse, Franz Ferdinand have since played gigs from New York City's Coral Room, to T in the Park. Their smart-punk debut single Darts Of Pleasure giddied up excitable support from art-school kids, the music media and beyond. Now signed to London's Domino Records, it might soon be Franz Ferdinand, rather than Mogwai, The Delgados or tourmates Belle And Sebastian, who bring neo-Glasgow rock-fire to the masses. For all their studious, affected poise, this band can't help but play with joyful, danceable wiggle. Franz Ferdinand go on the road with the NME Brats Tour this month, while the debut album is out in February.

Stephen Phelan


Darren Fletcher, Manchester United

With his choirboy looks and gangling manner, Darren Fletcher cuts an incongruous figure alongside the legends of the Manchester United midfield, but we should have plenty of time to acclimatise to the sight. The 19-year-old from Dalkeith has already racked up 13 appearances for the Old Trafford first team this season in the space vacated by David Beckham, and this year he'll develop still further to become an automatic pick.

Young Scottish players have been known to emerge, then sink without trace, but Fletcher's prospects look uncommonly bright. A schoolboy star, he was compared to a "young Glenn Hoddle". His 16th birthday sparked a scramble for his signature, although Sir Alex Ferguson had already loaded the dice by having him trained at Old Trafford from his early teens, and now has him under contract until 2007.

After finally ignoring pleas from Roy Keane to represent Ireland, Fletcher has won four caps, but his progression at international level has been such that it is difficult to imagine a Scotland team without him. After coming on as a sub to dispatch the unerring volley which booked Scotland's playoff place, he conjured a superb performance against Holland at Hampden, setting up the winning goal. OK, so he was anonymous in the 6-0 second leg defeat in Amsterdam, but who in a Scotland shirt wasn't?

Stewart Fisher


Lee McConnell, runner

The days when Scots were key members of the British Olympic athletics team may be gone, but one young Glaswegian provides cause for optimism this summer. Two years ago, Lee McConnell announced her arrival as a top-class 400m runner when she took a Commonwealth silver medal in Manchester and followed that up two weeks later with a European Championships bronze. Not bad for an athlete who'd recently switched to the event from the high jump.

Last year proved tougher for the 24-year-old, but she still showed grit and determination. An impressive second place in the European Cup in Florence boded well, and, despite injury, she made the world championships final in Paris, confirming her place among the event's elite.

So to the Olympics in Athens. A place in the 400m final would be a highly impressive achievement. Given the competition - (a clutch of world-class Russians, Americans and Caribbean athletes, plus Ana Guevara, the Mexican who took the world title in Paris) - it will take a sub-50 second run to win a medal, and McConnell's personal best is 50.82secs. But she shows every sign of bridging that gap.

Natasha Woods


Rae Hendrie, actress

Following appearances in Rockface and The Bill (and after being frazzled to death in a tumble drier on Taggart), Rae Hendrie is set to become a household name when she returns to our screens for Monarch Of The Glen's sixth series.

The 26-year-old RSAMD graduate joined the cast in November to play feisty ghillie Jessica. This year, her character will become pivotal within the drama, now aired in 20 countries worldwide and one of BBC America's most popular British exports.

BBC1 programme-makers enlisted Rae to spice up the series and spark some sexual chemistry with estate hand Duncan (Hamish Clark). "It's been great mucking in, lifting bales, fishing, shooting, the lot," says Hendrie. "Jessica's a real action girl and the next series is going to be a big one."

Hendrie, from Selkirk, was working as a London inner-city classroom assistant last year when she got the call to Glenbogle. She had signed up with the teaching agency so she could work when not acting. This year, however, she is almost fully booked with parts. Next month, she stars in David Harrower's play Knives In Hens at the Manchester Royal Exchange, before Monarch Of The Glen starts filming in March.

Liam McDougall


Gerard Butler, actor

As Pierce Brosnan prepares to hang up his Walther PPK, hot tips for the next James Bond include Clive Owen, Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale and Rupert Everett. But sneaking up on the inside is 34-year-old Glasgow-born Gerard Butler. Since his bit-part as a doomed seaman in 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies, Butler's roles have been steadily getting bigger.

This Glasgow University law graduate was propelled into acting after a chance meeting with legendary stage ogre Steven Berkoff, who cast Butler in his acclaimed 1995 production of Coriolanus. Film roles in Mrs Brown, Dracula 2001 and Reign Of Fire followed, but it was last year that Butler really stepped up to the big league. He was by far the best thing in the awful Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle Of Life, holding his own against Angelina Jolie as her mercenary ex-lover. Right now, he's in multiplexes in time-travel blockbuster, Timeline.

This year, he plays the title role in Joel Schumacher's film adaptation of The Phantom Of The Opera, released in December. So how does he feel abount impending stardom ... shaken or stirred? "It's not something that's keeping me awake at night," he joked recently. "I'm just thinking about the hard work I've got to do."

Copyright 2004 Scottish Media Newspapers Limited


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