Born to a Scottish father and a Sicilian mother, Stott grew up surrounded by creativity and learning. Dad taught English at George Heriot's School (which Stott attended as a child) while Mom worked as an Italian literature professor at nearby Edinburgh University. The couple frequently hosted actors, singers, musicians and other creative types as part of their involvement with the Scots Italian Circle, a cultural exchange organization the father-of-two served as president of. Music and dance took hold of Stott early, and he briefly studied ballet before turning his attention to music full-time, fronting a number of local Scottish bands and enjoying the rush of performing. While one of his former groups, Keyhole, went on to become the world-famous Bay City Rollers, Stott found himself increasingly drawn to acting. Having been a cinema fan since his childhood, the young Scot enrolled in London's Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and prepared himself for what would surely become a promising career. Except it didn't quite work out that way. Depression quickly set in and Stott spent several years working odd jobs to stay afloat; he sold double-glazed siding as often as someone who doesn't care about it can, and endured the concerned pleas of numerous family members to come back to Edinburgh. He managed to land his debut TV role in 1977 on the World War II series "Secret Army," and slowly started landing theatre work thereafter. After an unhappy stint with the Royal Shakespeare Company, he joined the National Theatre in the late 1980s and began building a critically acclaimed theatre career that would eventually span two continents and receive four Olivier Award nominations. In 1994 he landed his first breakout TV role on "Takin' Over the Asylum," a six-part series centered on the inmates Stott's alcoholic salesman encounters as he tries to launch a radio station inside a mental hospital. His portrayal of the teetering Pat Chappel a few years later on "The Vice" wasn't the first time he'd played a detective inspector, but it was the first time audiences sat up and took notice. The turn of the millennium found Stott in increasingly high demand. In 2001 he landed another detective inspector role, this time as grizzled DCI Red Metcalfe on the serial killer miniseries "Messiah," while continuing to work on "The Vice" until his exit in 2003. After a third go-round with gruesome serial murders in "Messiah: The Promise" (BBC, 2004), Stott shifted gears (and raised eyebrows) with his acutely observed role as a young Adolf Hitler in the made-for-TV movie "Uncle Adolf," which explored the future Fuhrer's obsessive relationship with his niece, Geli Raubal. 2005's "Messiah: The Harrowing" proved to be his last hurrah with DCI Metcalfe but Stott's police badge didn't stay inactive too long. Two years later he succeeded John Hannah as the title stoic detective in "Rebus," based on the popular crime novels by Scottish author Ian Rankin. Hollywood came calling next with "Charlie Wilson's War" (2007), in which he played a small but memorable role as an Israeli arms dealer, and the following year Stott returned to England in "Hancock & Joan" (BBC Four) as Tony Hancock, the successful but troubled British comedian whose 1968 suicide surprised few who knew him. Having already dipped his feet into fantasy with his voice-over role as a loyal badger in "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" (2008), in 2012 Stott portrayed imposing dwarf leader Balin in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," the first installment of Peter Jackson's three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel.