Actor and director David Hayman is determined not to close his eyes to

life's injustices . . . even if it means getting up everyone else's

nose, finds JACKIE McGLONE.

PEOPLE seem to either love or hate David Hayman. ''Oooh, aaah, you are

interviewing David are you?'' sighed an actress friend. ''He's

absolutely gorgeous,'' she breathed, very heavily. ''Who are you writing

about this week?'' asked a man in the office. ''David Hayman? I can't

stand him. Isn't he the Jimmy Boyle character? No, I definitely don't

like him. I don't care for what he stands for.''

How, I wondered, did this chap know what Hayman stands for? He has

never met him and seems to avoid all his performances and his works like

the plague. Surely, on the basis of one role in one film, albeit one as

contentitious and controversial as A Sense of Freedom, Hayman can't be

dismissed as ''the Hardman'' of Scottish artistic life.

Consider the 42-year-old's achievements so far. He has been in theatre

for more than 20 years, ran 7:84 for three years, directed the multiple

award-winning Silent Scream, as well as Govan Ghost Story and the recent

mini-series, Firm Friends, has just finished directing a feature film,

The Hawk, starring Helen Mirren, and has a terrific piece of work, Black

and Blue, about police corruption and racism, going out on BBC1 tomorrow

night in the Screen One slot. The film has upset the English

Establishment even before it has been shown, with John Stalker

fulminating in a Sunday broadsheet about this ''parcel of too much

fiction in an unconvincing wrapping''. Black and Blue, wrote Stalker,

''raises disturbing new questions about the portrayal of the police on


Perhaps that's the problem. David Hayman, actor, director and

political animal with a burning desire to change the world, doesn't mind

getting right up people's noses. And he is not going to apologise to

John Stalker if the former police officer does not find his work --

dread words, politically correct. There is something so up-front, so

painfully honest about Hayman, that you feel he would never be able to

hide his true feelings. That is surely what makes him such a compelling

actor and such a good director.

''I only put my name to things I actually believe in,'' he says, the

light of battle in his eyes. ''Without being pompous, that is what keeps

me going. I am not interested in fame and fortune or living in my ivory

tower. I want to change the world, foolishly, because I will die failing

in that attempt. But if in the process I can influence and provoke and

make people think and somehow shatter their preconceptions about things

they hold dear, like the institutions in this country, then I'll have

done my job.

''But first and foremost, you have to entertain people, otherwise I

might as well call a political meeting and tub-thump, which I'm

certainly not geared to. You have to subsume the politics, but you must

also make sure the message comes across because Black and Blue is a

piece of political cinema, which I hope still brings out the basic

humanity of the characters involved.'' Hayman certainly brings out

tremendous performances from a starry white cast, brilliantly backed up

by a group of young black actors, of whom more should be heard and seen

soon, although Hayman suspects that ''they will all sit around on their

arses for a year, wondering what the hell has happened to them, because

the work is simply not there for black actors in this country''.

The son of working-class parents -- Hayman's father's family is from

Arran, his mother's from Glasgow via Australia -- he grew up in

Bridgeton and joined the Citizens' Close Theatre company from drama

school, having left school with not an ''O'' level to his name. His

first job was in the steel industry. The boy David strutted his stuff to

glorious effect for 10 years at the Citz, where he played virtually

every classical role in the canon and then some. When he left, his life

changed dramatically because his steelworker father's had also changed

-- he was suddenly made redundant in the middle of the seventies. An

event which opened Hayman's eyes to a more political sense of

responsibility as an artist.

The first role he was offered on leaving the Citz, with whom he will

be forever associated as ''the nude Hamlet'' (he wasn't, he wore a

jock-strap) and Lady Macbeth in the famous all-male production of the

Scottish play, was that of Jimmy Boyle in A Sense of Freedom. It was his

first grown-up role in front of the camera, although he had worked

extensively as a child actor on television. When the film was shown on

national television, the viewing figures were around the 20 million

mark. As he admits, his market value, his price, changed overnight.

HE SAYS, modestly: ''By all accounts, it was a reasonable performance

and not a bad showcase for a classical actor who had spent 10 years with

one company. The minute I had done that, the phone never stopped ringing

for two years. 'Come and do The Sweeney, Minder, The Professionals, be

the Glasgow Hardman, be the Hit Man, come and be Jimmy Boyle, just

repeat your Jimmy Boyle performance for us'. I turned them all down. I

thought, what more do I have to do to prove I can act? Instantly, I was

pigeon-holed. And that's why I started to direct. I no longer had any

control as an actor.''

The script he chose to direct was John Byrne's The Slab Boys at the

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, and he went on to direct plays at the Bush

Theatre and the Royal Court in London. After 10 years of the divine

decadence that was the Citz throughout the seventies, Hayman also knew

he hungered to explore film and naturalism. ''I was a born radical; I

love getting up people's noses. Brecht said that theatre should create

moral scandal, and Giles Havergal and Philip Prowse understood that very

well. It was a heady time, and the lifestyle we were involved in was

almost as exciting as the work itself.''

The actors played around with their sexuality onstage and off. In

1969, Hayman has recalled wearing eye make-up (offstage, mind), an

ear-ring, a woman's fur coat, a great sombrero hat, and hair down to his

shoulders. His aunts and uncles would run up the street as this vision

bore down upon them, he once said.

David Hayman 1992-style is very different. His head is shaved bald as

a coot -- ''directors don't need hair,'' he says, mysteriously. He wears

a casually fashionable black leather jacket, black jeans, rubber-soled

shoes and a black leather cap. A famished wolf, as one critic noted, he

is as lean and hungry-looking as he was in the Citz days when the Royal

Shakespeare Company was wont to offer him more and more money to play

Hamlet and Caesar (he is so thin, he'd be better casting as Cassius).

''I said, 'no thanks'. I have played Hamlet twice, in two different

productions, to my own people, I told them, in my own town and in my own

country; I am not going to come to Stratford and play it to Japanese and

American tourists. It wouldn't excite me and you wouldn't get the best

out of me. They couldn't understand that I had had my 10 years of all

that stuff, it was exciting, it was extraordinary, it was innovative.

Yes, it was bliss in that dawn to be alive and to be young. We were

sitting with the head on fire, while schoolkids whose teachers had

cancelled the show after all the stuff in the local press queued to see

the Hamlet. It was amazing.

''I still remember at the screening of A Sense of Freedom, a wee man

coming up to me and saying, 'Mr Hayman, I just want to tell you how much

your performance as Lady Macbeth meant to me. I hugged him because he

had just watched me for 90 minutes playing Jimmy Boyle on this huge

screen and yet it was the Lady Macbeth that lived in his memory. Now I

have to admit I have a real longing to get back onstage.''

THERE is, says Hayman, one great sadness in his life. His work is

almost always in England. ''I live a stone's throw from BBC Scotland and

10 minutes' walk away from STV, and I'd love to stay and work in

Glasgow. I want to work in my own city, in my own country, but the

offers come from elsewhere, so I have to go; it's crazy when you think

about something like Silent Scream, say, which won multiple awards all

over the world, as well as a British Academy Award, yet nobody in

Scotland is giving me a job. They import English directors all the time

to do whatever it is they do. I know I have just spent #2[1/2]m of the

BBC's money in London and I know that they don't have that sort of money

up here, but I don't want to have to go away to work.

''I miss my kids. I have to commute something like 24 months out of

26.'' He has two sons, Sam, 6, and Dave, 4, and has been with their

mother, his former social worker wife, Alice Griffin, for a dozen years.

''I do not see any reason why we shouldn't make a Black and Blue set in

Glasgow. This is an international melting-pot of a city, with its own

dynamic and its own drama. Why can't we have films like that produced

here, films which reflect the true nature of this country? If this

country is to have any democratic future, these are the issues we ought

to be examining.

''What do we get on our television screens? Strathblair, with two men

and a dug running over a hillside and you think, 'why?' And why the hell

are they doing a remake of Dr Finlay's Casebook? Why don't they make any

programmes about contemporary life?

''For instance, the National Front is on the rise here, something I

never thought I would see. There are 27,000 handguns in Strathclyde,

there are many, many stabbings every week in this city, the murder rate

is rising in Paisley, for instance, the crime rate is shocking, there

are problems with drug addiction and pushing, look at the state of the

housing people have to live in in Castlemilk and Drumchapel . . . just

look at it! I can't close my eyes to all that. I can't close my eyes to

kids dying in Somalia, to what is happening in Yugoslavia, to horror

upon horror, to one bleak news bulletin after another. Why do I want to

change the world? Well, I certainly don't like the way the world is, do

you?'' he snaps back.

''I can't put on rose-coloured spectacles and hope it will go away

because it makes me feel uncomfortable. I want people to stop and think

about the kind of world we are going to hand over to our children. I

want my kids to grow up in and develop in a better world than I grew up

in. Unlikely. But I will go on trying.''

* Black and Blue is on BBC1 tomorrow at 9.25pm.