Richard Madden has described receiving an honorary doctorate 12 years after missing his own graduation ceremony as “a real privilege”.
The Bodyguard and Game of Thrones star returned to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow on Thursday to receive the accolade for his contribution to drama.
His rise to fame led the institute to recognise the now Golden Globe-winner, who originally hails from Elderslie in Renfrewshire.
The 33-year-old told the crowd he was swayed in applying for the Conservatoire because “it said I would be an actor in training, not simply a drama student”.
He added: “Even though I’m ‘graduating’ today I feel that I always will be – and am happy to carry on being – an actor in training.”
In his speech, Madden said: “I missed my graduation because I was fortunate enough to be working so it feels particularly special to be here today – it feels like I’m finally graduating, albeit 12 years late.
“The Conservatoire gave me the confidence to call myself an actor, it gave me a place to study my craft, it gave me the skills and encouragement to go on and be the best that I could possibly be to achieve what I wanted to and set out to do.
“That’s why coming back here now is such an honour for me, this journey started, it led me to being here today and it started back here and I’ll be forever thankful and grateful and proud that I studied here.
“I’m even more proud and humbled that this place that gave me so much continues to support me and I’m truly honoured to receive this accolade today.”
Professor Hugh Hodgart – director of drama, dance production and film – gave the sponsor’s speech and paid tribute to the former student who was also named as one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
He said: “It’s an undisputed fact that Bodyguard was an extraordinary real-time phenomenon a the nation would sit down to watch it every week and discuss it the next day.
“The unbearable tension of the first episode, the plot’s endless twists and turns and, of course, Richard’s bare bottom.”
Prof Hodgart also praised his handling of real world struggles, highlighting how Madden said he felt isolated at the end of filming Bodyguard much like his character David Budd.
He added: “You’ve achieved so much in 12 short years and the prospects of a long and increasingly successful career beckon.
“The awards are likely to be great but the work will be hard and the wealth and celebrity rarely come without burdens to bear.”
More than 300 people graduated across the disciplines of music, drama, dance, production, education and film at the ceremony.
Conservatoire principal Professor Jeffrey Sharkey said: “Richard, it’s an honour to welcome you back today and to have this opportunity to celebrate your achievements back in the place that played a part in starting you on your journey to where you are now.
“We thank you for the creative conversation with our graduates yesterday and your inspiring words today.
“And I think I speak for all of us when we wish you and Robb (Stark) made it past season three.
“We’re incredibly proud of you.”