TILDA Swinton once said that her acting career was inspired by panto double act of Stanley Baxter and Ronnie Corbett.

Speaking in 2016, she recalled being taken by her parents to see the comedians in Cinderella one Christmas, when she was six years old.

“The first live performances I saw were the great Scottish comics Stanley Baxter and Ronnie Corbett as the Ugly Sisters in pantomime at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh. This experience, I have to confess, stole my heart and has been clearly, profoundly influential.”

Baxter and Corbett are pictured right, by Duncan Dingsdale, in December 1967, when they were playing the Ugly Sisters in the capital.

The Herald’s theatre critic noted that this version of Cinderella “might well be subtitled ‘Parliamo Galore’. “The ‘patter’ and knockabout comedy are of an exhortingly high order, calculated to keep the young in an agony of breathless excitement and ageing guardians right royally amused”.

Baxter was in his comic element as the raucous ugly sister, Big Natalie: “All his many talents as an interpreter of pawky comment in sundry versions of the Lallans are displayed to hilarious advantage. He has found in the diminutive Mr Corbett a spoofing partner of rare quality and universal appeal.

“It is an unqualified pleasure to watch this pair spinning laughter out of thin air and drawing out the reactions of their audience as if they were conducting a symphony orchestra”.

Baxter is also pictured here (main image) clowning for the camera at the Telephone Samaritans’ coffee morning and sale at Glasgow City Chambers in 1970.

Corbett passed away in 2016, aged 85, but Baxter, happily, is still with us, at 93.

Back in 1991 he told the Herald’s Andrew Young about his keep-fit regime and his diet. The former included thrice-weekly visits to the gym . As for the latter.....

‘’I became a vegetarian when I was 10 and would have stayed that way because I rather liked it” he said. “But when I was 18, doing my national service with the RASC and going to India on a troop-ship called the Queen of Bermuda, every meal was from a huge aluminium pot of stew. I realised it was either me or the coos, and the coos lost.

‘’In India I came out in boils and having been almost a doctrinaire vegetarian, thought it was the meat that caused this. I’ve been carnivorous ever since, but with a strong leaning towards vegetarianism”.

As for his general health, he admitted to Young: ‘’I’ve always been a devout hypochondriac.

“The slightest twinge is never just a twinge. If it’s the stomach, it’s cancer of the bowel. It it’s an ear, it’s a brain haemorrhage. I’m famous for it. I’m going to sit up in my coffin and say ‘I told you I wisnae well’.’’

Read more: Herald Diary