Actress Blythe Duff accepted an invitation to be the Chieftain of Bute Highland Games held on 22nd August, 2009.
The Taggart star, who has a holiday home on the island, took centre stage at the busiest event on the island’s calendar. Before presenting the trophies to the pipe band winners, Blythe, wearing an appropriate and stylish designer creation for the occasion, was full of praise for the organising committee and all the competitors who took part in the Games. In her own words…. “It has been a wonderful day and it has been the most memorable of my life. If today you have pulled a muscle or cricked your neck, just imagine what its like to be a competitor. To the people of Bute, whose sense of community and hospitality has today made Scotland proud – may your spirit continue to flourish, and may your ferries always be full”.
Blythe now joins a host of Bute Highland Games’ Chieftains that has included HRH Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay; entertainer Johnny Beattie; writer and trade unionist Jimmy Reid and Johnny Bute, the 7th Marquess of Bute.
Blythe had always heard wonderful stories of magical holidays in Rothesay and on the Isle of Bute. Her mother, Christina, used to holiday on the island, as did thousands of others, so she was genuinely honoured to be Chieftain of the 2009 Bute Highland Games, particularly during the special Homecoming Year.
Having a second home on the island, she was delighted, that along with her family, she has had the chance to acquaint herself with all that the island has to offer. She has been encouraged by investment in the island in recent years with developments in the inner harbour; the new school campus; the emergence of a new marina at Port Bannatyne; and has seen at first hand the generosity of the islanders in the creation of the wonderful Calum’s Cabin, a charitable organisation that continues to offer wonderful holidays for children suffering with cancer and their families. Bute has proved a wonderful haven of calm from her busy work schedule.
Blythe was born in East Kilbride and has lived all her life in the West of Scotland. It was as a teenager that Blythe found her love of drama, performing with various youth groups, and on leaving school she joined the Glasgow Arts Centre’s Youth Opportunities Theatre Company (”The Company’) and gained much needed experience, touring schools, prisons and community centres.
Having spent two summer seasons as a student with the Scottish Youth Theatre, she landed her first professional job in 1983, a joint production with SYT and the Traverse Theatre Company.
Working in the Theatre has remained an important part of Blythe’s career, touring the country with all the major Scottish theatre companies such as, The Lyceum, The Citizens, TAG, Cumbernauld, Communicado, The Traverse and Wildcat, during which she had the privilege of playing the Rothesay Pavilion. It was in 1989 that she made her West End debut playing Shirley Kaplan in Scottish Opera/ENO’s production of ‘Street Scene’ at The Coliseum. In 2003 she played Deborah in the European premier of the hit show ‘Mum’s the Word’ reprising her role, for an extensive tour of New Zealand. She then returned to London’s West End and toured Britain, with the award winning National Theatre of Scotland/The Donmar Warehouse playing Mrs Poole in the highly acclaimed production of ‘Be Near Me’.
She has performed on the concert platform most notably in Sound Bites for Scottish Opera, The Burns Bicentennial Concert, and narrated The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra with the BBC Symphony Orchestra broadcast live on Radio 3. Having worked in radio drama in her early career, she recently contributed to the Complete Works of Robert Burns for the BBC.
Blythe’s long list of television credits range from travel shows to antiques programmes and from ‘Ready Steady Cook’, to ‘Songs of Praise’, but, she is undoubtedly best known for her role as Detective Sergeant Jackie Reid in the ever popular series ‘Taggart’, the longest running detective drama on British TV which was brought to a close in 2011 after 27 years…. that’s a lot of dead bodies!
She is a patron of Scottish Youth Theatre and an Ambassador in Scotland for The Prince’s Trust.