Actor and comedian Karen Dunbar is best known for her roles in Chewin’ The Fat but is also a mainstay of theatre stages both in Scotland and England. Later this month she stars in Nae Expectations, the Tron Theatre’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic novel

What’s the last book you read?

It was Great Expectations by Charles Dickens! I saw it in a charity shop and couldnae resist it because it was like it had been put there for me. It’s about this wee boy who’s born into trauma and then gets another load of it pummelled into him by his heavy-handed sister. Luckily he has a lovely champion, his sister’s man Joe. Then the wee boy does a good thing, gets rewarded for it, becomes a gentleman, realises being upper class disnae mean being good and, with some big blasts on the way, goes back to his old, poor life but happily noo. 

Who is your favourite Dickens character?

Nancy. She tried to stand by her man but couldn’t do it when Bill went too far, and gave her life to save Oliver. She knew Bill would do her in.

What’s the last film you saw in a cinema?

Past Lives by Celine Song. It was just beautiful, a really subtle story of love, loss and gain and acceptance. one line in it really got to me: “What if this is a past life as well, and we are already something else to each other in our next life? Who do you think we are then?” Ooft!

What music are you currently listening to a lot?

I’m obsessed with a young queer singer called Softee. I found her by accident while listening to a random playlist and cannae stop now! She’s in Brooklyn, I think. She’s a DJ too. She’s not got many followers and I think she’s gonnae be the next big thing and I feel like I’ve discovered her. 

Recommend an album

Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. Flawless beauty from beginning to end 

The Herald: OasisOasis

Blur or Oasis?


What have you listened to recently that you think was completely over-rated?

I like some of Joe Rogan’s podcasts but a lot of them are just boring. It’s like the dull talks are riding on the coattails of the better ones.

The Herald: Joe RoganJoe Rogan

What has been your most formative cultural experience?

It’s been working in the third sector. I started during the lockdown doing rap workshops on Zoom with some community groups and it changed a lot of my direction. Until then I was only interested in working in entertainment but after doing a few of these sessions I knew there was more for me to experience. By that I mean I felt something very different working in these groups, encouraging others to find their creativity and helping shape and produce what they wanted to express. I run a social enterprise now called Beats Therapy and spend a lot of my time doing this.

What’s your go-to YouTube video?

Limmy! I cannae get enough of him. His ‘just pish yersel’ is one of the finest pieces of comedy to come out of this century.

The Herald: LimmyLimmy

What’s your favourite film?

Jaws. It’s three films in one, the acting is exquisite, the story is perfect and the shark is hilarious now but when I was seven it was the monster of my nightmares.

What haven’t you managed to get around to yet but will when you have the time?

Loads! Still haven’t seen The Usual Suspects (but I know who did it!). Haven’t watched Call My Agent. Haven’t read Moby Dick. Haven’t listened to any Taylor Swift …

Recommend a TV box-set

The Politician’s Wife. Juliet Stevenson at her brilliant best. Everyone else is great however the story is a drop in the water compared to today’s scandals.

What do you always turn off?

Cannae stick Strictly! I know that’s not a popular opinion and I did watch it when ma pal Kaye Adams was on. But oh my God, the amount of clapping and cheering and sycophancy makes me heave.

What’s your favourite song?

Aw, how can I even begin to answer that?! I’ll say the one that is in my mind right now and that’s We Are The Champions by Queen. I can’t hear the beginning of that song without catching my breath. The older I get, the more that first line weighs on me. But I’ve come through!

You’re in a station ahead of a journey. What magazine do you grab?

Mixmag DJ magazine. I started DJing again last year and do a disco night every three months but my real goal is Ibiza! I want to be DJing there next summer. Watch this space …

The Herald: Harry HillHarry Hill

Who’s your favourite comedian and why?

Harry Hill. I think he’s one of the most underrated and inventive comics we’ve had in a generation. I went to see him at the Kings in Glasgow and nearly had an asthma attack laughing.

Who’s your favourite living author and why?

Denise Mina. She’s so smart and funny and surprising. and she’s a really nice wuman.

Irvine Welsh or Robert Louis Stevenson?

Irvine Welsh

Recommend a podcast and say why it’s so good …

Forest of Thought. it’s just really different. the subjects are unusual and the interviewer is clever and interesting but knows when to shut up and listen.

Who’s your favourite actor and why?

I’m gonnae be really predictable and say Meryl Streep. She’s just so versatile and subtle and enduring. The fact that she never won the Oscar for The Devil Wears Prada will pain me forever. Aand she’s an awfy nice wuman (I met her in New York. Ooooh!)

Who was the second best James Bond?