Only an Excuse creator takes to the Platform stage

25 Apr 2023

Billy Bremner ruined my life! The man behind BBC’s Only An Excuse? Philip Differ brings his acclaimed autobiographical one-man show, Billy Bremner and Me, to the Platform stage on Tue 2 May at 7pm.

Phil started as a writer for sketch shows such as A Kick up the Eighties, Not The Nine O’Clock News, Spitting Image, Three of a Kind and Little and Large. He was the creator behind the iconic ‘Only an Excuse?’ which starred Jonathan Watson and which began as a radio show in 1986 before spawning three chart-topping cassettes, seven sell-out stage tours. Between 1993 and 2020 was the mainstay of BBC Scotland’s New Year schedule.

He is a multi-award-winning television and radio producer, including Royal Television Society ‘Outstanding Contribution’ award 2021. Awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by Glasgow Caledonian University in recognition of television scriptwriting and commitment to students.

Author of critically acclaimed play ‘Smile’ (2019) about legendary Scottish football manager Jim McLean. Senior Producer/Director of The Comedy Unit, the BBC department/production company responsible for - among others - Naked Video, Rab C. Nesbitt, City Lights, Scotch and Wry, The Ferguson Theory, Chewin’ the Fat, Still Game.

Billy Bremner and Me tells of Phil's childhood dream to usurp the former Leeds United and Scotland star’s playing career, but his dreams faded as he confronted one minor problem – his own mediocrity!

Like his hero Bremner, Differ also attended Stirling’s St Modan’s High School, but with a very different outcome. In this one-man show, he examines the life and career of Bremner, the former Scotland and Leeds United captain.

The show was premiered at 2019’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Phil says: “I’m really looking forward to getting the boots on again and going back on tour with ‘Billy Bremner and Me’. It’s always fun reliving the days when dreams were so often halted by a crunching tackle just outside the box. I should point out though, this is not just a tribute to my footballing failure, it’s also a celebration of the golden years of British football when men were men, mud was mud and sports science was a fag at half time’.

‘Strange thing but back in my youth, when it came to playing football, reality always seemed to find a way to get it right up you. Thankfully, being a writer, I was able to channel all those disappointments into my one man show, ‘Billy Bremner and Me’.  

There will be 20-minute Q&A session at the end of the performance.


“A show not to be missed!”

“Wonderful, funny, nostalgic.”

“Proof that men never grow up - not always a bad thing!”

“It’s his deft, understated delivery that’s winning”

“Happy to poke fun at himself”

“I love Phil Differ, he’s the quiet genius of Scottish comedy” Rory Bremner  

“A brilliant and very entertaining show which brought back many happy memories of when I taught at St Modan’s High School in the 1970s. I had the privilege of teaching Phil Differ and was there when former pupil Billy Bremner came to visit the school. This is a MUST-see show.”  Dennis Canavan, ex-MP/MSP and Phil’s former Maths teacher.



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