Robert Carlyle has shared more details about the upcoming TV adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting follow-up novel The Blade Artist.


Carlyle starred as Edinburgh hardman Begbie in Danny Boyle’s 1996 classic, as well as its 2017 sequel T2: Trainspotting.

There have been rumors of a third film that has even been teased by Welsh himself in past interviews, but before any of that, Carlyle confirmed in September that a small-screen adventure would be arriving first. It’s based on Welsh’s fifth book written about the Trainspotting characters.

The Blade Artist follows on from previous novels Trainspotting (1993), Porno (2002) and Skagboys (2012), and came ahead of 2018’s Dead Man‘s Trousers and catches up with Begbie’s past and present.

In the book, Begbie is reformed and rechristened Jim Francis, living in California with his wife and two daughters, but must return to Scotland for his murdered son’s funeral. His wife Melanie slowly comes to terms with Jim’s dark past.

TRAINSPOTTING, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller, 1996, (c) Miramax/courtesy Everett Collection

Speaking about the new project with Sky News, Carlyle said:

“It’s a way off at the moment, I would think probably the way these things go, 18 months or so maybe down the line,”

“It’s based on Irvine Welsh’s novel, The Blade Artist, which kind of takes on Begbie’s story well after the whole Trainspotting events have passed by.”

“He has discovered art while he’s in prison, his form of art is sculpture. And he ends up marrying his art therapist from the prison, which I guess, you know, that’s a kind of well-worn path that happens a lot. I’ve investigated and studied that, that happens. He’s ended up in California, he’s in California with a wife, children, his artwork has been taken by the kind of glitterati of the day.”

“So he’s a kind of cause celebre suddenly, but very quickly, within 10 pages of the book, he gets a phone call from back home and his son has been murdered by a gang. So he has to go back, and as he goes back, it just spirals out of control.”

Carlyle’s update comes as a new book, #25 Trainspotting, by Jay Glennie, on the making of the film, featuring contributions from Welsh, director Boyle and stars including Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner and Kelly Macdonald, as well as Carlyle, is set to be released.


#25 Trainspotting, by Jay Glennie, will be released on December 6th.

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