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Birmingham actor Martin Shaw: "I hate the Library of Birmingham, it's monstrous."

The TV star is set to appear in Twelve Angry Men in the Birmingham Rep, next to the city's new library

Birmingham actor Martin Shaw
Birmingham actor Martin Shaw

Brummie actor Martin Shaw has laid into the new Library of Birmingham, calling it “monstrous”.

The TV star is not a fan of the spectacular £188 million building, next to where he is currently working at Birmingham Rep.

“I hate it,” the 68-year-old, who grew up in Erdington, said. “It’s monstrous.

“Forgive me, I know Birmingham is very proud of it, but in my opinion it has nothing going for it at all.

“It’s a very ugly building which dominates the space so emphatically. There are some wonderful buildings around it, like the Hall of Memory, which are overshadowed now. There’s no point in my having a nostalgia for Birmingham because the Birmingham I knew has gone. Part of the process of being here is getting over the fact that I don’t know where I am.

“In terms of not being stuck in the past and in terms of progress for business, I suppose it is a good thing for the city. But for me, I find it a bit tragic. I really enjoyed the old Birmingham.

“I took a stroll round the Jewellery Quarter, where I used to work. It was a rough, industrial area then, now it’s become posh.

“My son Luke and I went up to visit my brother Jem, who lives in Stafford, and we came back on the A38. Suddenly I began to know where I was.

“I said to Luke ‘There used to be a cinema there, and that’s where Castle Bromwich aerodrome was, where I took my first flight at 10’.

“We came to the Tyburn Road and the old factories where my father worked were still there. But then we got to Spaghetti Junction and I was lost again.”

Martin's views differ from Mercury Prize nominee - and fellow Brummie - Laura Mvula, who said this week the building makes her 'proud'.

The TV star is being guided around his home city by his castmate Robert Vaughn, as the Man from UNCLE star knows modern Birmingham well, having lived here for three summers while filming the TV series Hustle.

They are starring together in the play Twelve Angry Men, who opens tomorrow and runs for a fortnight. It is Martin’s first appearance at the Rep in his 50-year career.

 

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