EUAN MCIVER does not know who volunteered him to do a sketch in his drama class with Glasgow showbiz legend Stanley Baxter.

But he will always be grateful to them.

Glasgow Times: Stanley Baxter in Aladdin.

“He was giving us a talk all about his years of experience, when someone asked how he changed his voice so easily when he was playing different characters,” says Euan. “Stanley suggested one of us came up and acted out the famous Upstairs Downstairs sketch so he could demonstrate but we were all too terrified, so no-one volunteered.

“Then, a voice said, ‘Euan’ll do it’ and off I went. I was a huge fan and knew the sketch inside out and at the end, Stanley told me he wanted to chat to me about my future career….”

It was 1982, and a moment Euan, now 59, will never forget.

Glasgow Times: Euan on stage with Stanley in Aladdin

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – and after I graduated the following summer, Stanley called me and asked me to meet him at Rogano in Glasgow to discuss me becoming his understudy in Mother Goose in Glasgow,” laughs Euan. “It was surreal. Thinking back, I still can’t believe it happened.”

It was the first step into a world Euan had never imagined he would be part of.

Glasgow Times: A message from Stanley to Euan

“I was all set to do law in Aberdeen when Miss Smith, a trainee drama teacher who came to my school when I was in sixth year, told me I should be thinking about doing acting,” he explains, adding with a smile. “That’s Elaine C Smith. Without her advice and encouragement, I’d never have been brave enough to go to the RSAMD (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and I’d never have become an actor.”

Glasgow Times: Understudying for Stanley in Glasgow

Euan fell in love with the theatre as a young child, taken to pantos in his home town of Edinburgh and in Glasgow by his parents.

“I loved it,” he says. “I loved panto so much I’d save up my pocket money to go back and see the Saturday matinee.

In addition to understudying for Stanley, Euan became his ‘body double’ on stage.

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“He wanted to do some tricks on the stage, where it would look like him, but it would actually be me, so he could do a superquick costume change in the wings,” he explains. “At first I was so scared the audience would know right away it wasn’t him, but he just said – I know you can do this.

“And that first night, the reaction in the wings was magic, we’d cracked it.”

Glasgow Times: Euan in Snow White

Euan went on to appear in several Christmas shows in Glasgow, in Edinburgh and in Sunderland with Stanley, and other Scottish theatre greats such as Jimmy Logan and Una McLean. When Stanley decided to hang up his panto frocks, he continued to pass on tips and hints to his young protégé.

“He’s been a great mentor, over the years, and I’m really grateful for all the advice he has given me and continues to give me,” smiles Euan, who is appearing in Snow White at the Maltings Theatre in Berwick this Christmas.

“Even now, it’s his voice I hear in my head – how to wear gloves to make your hands look longer, how to stand, or walk, in a certain way for a certain character. He has been so generous in passing on his knowledge and skill.”