Born in Maryhill, Glasgow, Carlyle was brought up by his father after his mother walked out when he was four. He left school aged sixteen and began working for his father as a painter and decorator. However, when he was twenty-one his interest in drama ignited and he went to study at the city’s Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). His career was launched following his acclaimed performance as a murderer in the ITV drama ‘Cracker’ (1994). Two years later he was cast as a psychopath in the cult Scottish film ‘Trainspotting’ (1996). In 1997 he won a BAFTA for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in ‘The Full Monty’. In 1999 Carlyle was awarded an OBE for his services to drama.