Behind-the-Scenes Drama: Why Did Bill Paterson Leave Guilt?

Behind-the-Scenes Drama: Why Did Bill Paterson Leave Guilt?
Image credit: BBC Scotland

Was there any drama at all?


  • Bill Paterson's departure after Guilt Season 1 raised a lot of questions from fans.
  • Many believed that the actor had conflicts on the set that caused him to leave the show.
  • However, the reason could have been due to external circumstances.

Bill Paterson is one of the most recognizable actors in Scotland and the United Kingdom. His career spans almost 60 years and during that time he has been appreciated in the theatre, on radio and on the big screen, but the actor is probably best known for his work in numerous television projects.

From Auf Wiedersehen, Pet to Wives and Daughters, from Doctor Who to Good Omens and Brassic, while Paterson has not always had a lead role, many of the series he has been involved with have achieved cult status and won more than a few prestigious awards.

So when the Scottish crime drama with elements of black comedy Guilt, created by Neil Forsyth, came out in 2019, many were very enthusiastic about the fact that it was Bill Paterson who starred in the series. Moreover, his villainous role of Roy Lynch proved incredibly memorable, not only because of the danger he posed to the show's protagonists, but also because of the multifaceted nature of his character. Sadly, his shoes were filled by Stuart Bowman in the second season.

So why did Bill Paterson leave Guilt? Let's get to the bottom of it.

Why Did the Actor Leave after Guilt Season 1?

While Bill Paterson's exit before Season 2 was a big disappointment for fans of the legendary Scottish actor, Stuart Bowman did a fine job portraying the charming yet sinister gangster boss Roy Lynch in Seasons 2 and 3. But that doesn't change the fact that Paterson's departure from the series raised a number of questions that were never answered by Neil Forsyth or the actor himself.

Many fans assumed at the time that some kind of behind-the-scenes drama had broken out. In an interview, Stuart Bowman stated that he didn't understand why Paterson left the project, but noted that it was probably related to the COVID-19 pandemic:

'It's odd, I sort of went, "Christ, why is Bill not doing it?" I think it was just COVID-related. I was thrilled to be doing it – and thank you, Bill, for giving me this chance!'

Behind-the-Scenes Drama: Why Did Bill Paterson Leave Guilt? - image 1

Keep in mind that at that time the actor was already 75 years old, and therefore it is not surprising that in such a critical situation in the world Bill Paterson prioritized his well-being.

Where and How to Watch Guilt?

Unfortunately, Bill Paterson only appeared in the first season of this Scottish series, but Guilt is undoubtedly worth watching thanks to its excellent writing, directing, production quality, acting and terrific soundtrack. So if you want to revisit the superb show or watch it for the first time, it is fortunately available on streaming services.


BBC iPlayer — As the series ran on BBC Scotland and across the UK on BBC Two, Guilt is available on the broadcaster's own platform. Plus, there's no subscription required, so all three seasons of Guilt are completely free to watch!

ITVX — Alternatively, the first two seasons of Guilt are available on the ITVX streaming service. Subscriptions cost £5.99 per month (or £59.99 per year), but a 7-day free trial is offered first.


PBS Masterpiece — As for the US, all three seasons of the series are offered here as part of PBS Masterpiece, available through Amazon Prime Video. To access Guilt, you'll need a Prime subscription, which costs $14.99 per month after a 30-day free trial, and a subscription to Masterpiece itself. Through July 17, a subscription to the latter will cost just $0.99 for the first two months and $5.99 per month thereafter.

Source: Virgin Media.