Martin Shaw profile

Martin Shaw has come along way since bursting onto screens as the reluctant star of The Professsionals. - but just how much do you know about him?

Martin Shaw as Gently

Martin Shaw as Gently

One big step

Shaw was born in 1945 and lived in a council house in Erdington, near Birmingham, until he was 11. Then his parents bought a house in Sutton Coldfield. "It was a huge step," he recalls.

Clean living man

Like GF Newman, the writer and producer of Judge John Deed, Shaw is a vegetarian. He liked a drink in his youth but these days Shaw's teetotal. "The only purpose of alcohol was to get drunk," he says now.

The price of fame

Shaw's a bit iffy about celebrity: "Being a celebrity, whatever that means, is something I dislike intensely," he says. "It has its uses but it's not the only reason people should give you work. You should work because you're good."

I want to be alone

Shaw has a remote converted croft in Scotland. On occasion, he stays there for long periods, relishing the solitude. "It's been my wilderness fix for years," he says.

Professional distance

Shaw's dislike of The Professionals, the 1970s action series that made him famous, developed early on in the show's life. "I wrote my letter of resignation six weeks into filming," he says.

Hey good-looking!

There aren't many actors pushing 60 who are still offered heartthrob parts. Shaw's realistic about how much longer this will continue. "There is definitely a shelf life with that kind of role and I think it's wiser and also more fun to start exploring character roles," he says.

Did you know?

Shaw once played Elvis Presley in a play by Alan Bleasdale called Are You Lonesome Tonight? A hit with the critics, it examined the final 24 hours of The King's life.

He is also a qualified private pilot. He has his own vintage biplane, a Boeing Stearman. He enjoys taking it for a spin near his home in Norfolk.

Shaw met his wife, TV presenter Vicky Kimm, while she was a researcher on the TV magazine show, Pebble Mill. She came to interview him and he thought she was a lovely person.

The producers of The Professionals originally wanted Shaw to play Ray Doyle with short hair and a suit. Shaw was having none of it. He got his long hair permed and turned up on the first day of shooting in jeans and a leather jacket. The director liked the look and the rest is history.