One of the country’s finest comic actors, and the man who brought history and archaeology into the living rooms of the nation, was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters during a ceremony at Aberdeen University.
Sir Tony Robinson, best known as Baldrick from the hit TV series Blackadder, explained why the north-east has a special place in his heart as he received the award yesterday.
Speaking to the Press and Journal, the 72-year-old said: “My dad was stationed here throughout the war, in the RAF patching up Spitfires and Hurricanes.
“He was part of the Canadian forces’ jazz band and he toured all the pubs and village halls of Aberdeenshire.
“When the war was over, he had developed all these relationships which meant that we came back here year after year after year.
“So the north-east of Scotland is a place very dear to my heart.
“This is one of the great universities, and to be recognised for some of the work I’ve done is an enormous honour.
“I’m someone who never went to university, the sum total of my academic prowess is four O-levels.
“So suddenly to be wearing this funny hat and this funny gown, and to be standing amid these wonderful buildings being honoured – it’s a buzz.”
He added: “I’d like to think these titles haven’t changed me.
“I’m in my 70s now. In my 20s they would certainly have changed me, but hopefully I have a little irony towards anything honorific nowadays.”
The national treasure also spoke of his gratitude to the comic character who brought him fame.
“Baldrick changed my life,” he said.
“He gave me the opportunity to do everything I’ve done since then, so I don’t feel embarrassed about being Baldrick, however stupid he was.
“There are all these various things which I have tried my hand at during my life, which once I’d been Baldrick and achieved a certain degree of celebrity, I was able to exploit.
“So I’m ever grateful to him for opening up for me the world of archaeology and the world of history and letting me do all the things I’ve been able to do.
“As a jobbing actor I wouldn’t have stood a chance.”