Glasgow & West Scotland

Grado: 'Why I went on stage two days after mum died'

Grado in Scot Squad
Image caption Grado has become well-known for hit comedy Scot Squad

Scot Squad star Grado has revealed pantomime got him through the grief of losing his mother.

The actor and wrestler returned to his role just two days after 61-year-old Maureen died in December.

The woman he said was his "biggest fan" lost a long battle with cancer while her son was performing in The Wizard of Never Woz at Glasgow's Pavilion Theatre.

He said she would have approved of his work ethic and enjoyed the attention.

Grado, whose real name is Graeme Stevely, revealed the news on 15 December via social media.

He also told a story about his mum and her involvement in his early career when she took part in his documentary Insane Fight Club.

Grado told BBC Radio's Kaye Adams Show she would have wanted him to go on with the show.

"My mum battled for years and years and she never took time off," he said.

"I remember if I was not feeling well and phoned in sick I would run out and hide at my pal's house because she'd expect me to keep working.

"My mum would be the one to tell me to go back on the stage as well."

The actor also revealed why he decided to go back so soon.

He said: "The director said 'What do you want to do?' I said I don't want to sit in the house and greet all day.

"That wasn't the right thing for me to do.

"That's the way some people grieve but I felt I just had to come back on stage and surround myself with people that are positive.

"It's Christmas time, people are there for a good time so I felt surrounding myself like that was better for me than sitting about greetin."

Image caption Grado's mother Maureen was a big part of his documentary Insane Fight Club

Grado returned to the stage two days later and said the cast helped him through the tough time: "Everybody at the Pavilion was brilliant.

"Steven Purdon [River City actor] has been fantastic with me and I've become really close with him on this run. Everybody I've been around has been fantastic with me."

He also spoke of how hard it was to work while his mother's condition was deteriorating: "The crowd at the Pavilion are just so warm and I just had to remember that it's pantomime and everybody's there for a good time and see the smiles on their faces - and that rubbed off on me.

"But it was difficult coming off the stage and checking the phone to see if everything was all right."

Grado also said breaking the news on social media felt like the right thing to do.

Image caption Grado has also appeared in River City

Maureen was well known to his friends and followers and he knew they would want to know what had happened.

"My mum was a big part of my story so a lot of people knew her from social media so I felt I had to let them know.

"And she would have wanted this too. When I spoke at the funeral I said she would have loved how her death was reported in the papers and she would have been delighted her picture got 16,000 likes on Facebook."

He also found some comfort in the reaction: "Social media did help me. People sharing their stories and reading people's comments helped me."

Grado's next appearance will be in the BBC comedy Two Doors Down which he sees as a fitting tribute to his mum.

"That was my mum's favourite programme - it was our programme," he said. "Now I just want to concentrate on doing things like that."

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