Former River City actor Garry Sweeney to play Tam ‘The Licensee’ McGraw in film about former gangster Paul Ferris
FORMER River City star Garry Sweeney will play the late Tam ‘The Licensee’ McGraw in a docu-drama about former gangster Paul Ferris.
The 47-year-old – who says he spent his youth sitting on High Court cases in Glasgow – is ‘excited’ to take on the role of the late crime lord.
Last month, we recounted how another former River City actor, Paul Brannigan, 34, was set to play Ferris in the documentary.
Garry was born and raised in the Gorbals against the backdrop of the long-standing feud between Ferris and McGraw.
And he even remembers being there when Ferris walked out of court after being cleared of the murder of Arthur Thompson Junior in 1992.
He said: “I stayed in the Gorbals while Ferris was on trial. I remember a few days earlier at trial I used to go to murder cases for my curiosity.
“I was unable to participate in this trial. But I remember the sunny day Ferris went out. There were only the press and people everywhere outside.
Garry never met Tam McGraw in person. He added: “I have a good idea of who he was.
“I hope that once it comes up and we film, you have people that Paul was close to on set. You can obviously ask them questions to get to know his character. I was going through all the old books. from Glasgow wherever it was mentioned and newspaper articles.
And he says his acting history will help too. He added: “I did a few Taggarts where I made your pimps and your Glasgow gangsters.”
The last actor to play McGraw was Scottish film legend John Hannah – who played the gang lord in the 2013 Ferris film The Wee Man.
He added, “I’m pretty sure I’ll play it a little differently. I’m pretty sure if you asked most of the cast, they would much rather go to the dark side. It’s a lot more interesting to play – it’s more fun.
Former gangster Paul Ferris backs plans for new documentary film about his life
McGraw began his criminal career as an armed robber, but his astute criminal mastermind soon saw him branch out into other fields, including drug trafficking and extortion.
He is believed to have built a crime empire worth £ 30million.
He was dubbed the license holder after claiming he was allowed to commit crimes in exchange for helping police provide information.
McGraw was a central figure in Glasgow’s famed Ice War of the early 1980s. Last month we recounted how Paul Brannigan was inspired by the way Ferris, 57, turned his back on criminal gangs.
Ferris was a notorious executor of the dreaded Glasgow ‘godfather’ Arthur Thompson in the early 1980s.
We recounted in January how photographer and editor Brian Anderson got the ex-hood’s approval to make The Paul Ferris Story, which is set to be directed by Ray Burdis. He came up with the idea after starting the television company Jack Pepper Media with his business partner Ian Jefferies.
Mr Jefferies said: “Garry is a fantastic Glasgow actor and will bring great dimension with raw honesty as McGraw in the acting scenes. We hope to go into production by the end of 2021. ”
We pay for your stories and videos! Do you have a story or video for The Scottish Sun? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0141 420 5300