It might have gone over the heads of those he was entertaining and enlightening at Waterpark RFC’s fundraiser in Dooleys Hotel on Friday night but towering ex-England forward Martin Bayfield, who was forced to retire prematurely a decade ago, has since appeared in the massively-successful Harry Potter films, playing the half-giant normally ‘filled’ by Robbie Coltrane in longer shots which need to emphasise Hagrid’s height.
Martin does around 60 ‘after-dinners’ a year. When he hung up his boots, “the game had only recently turned professional so there wasn’t a great deal of money sloshing around and I didn’t want to go back to the police force.”
How did he end up acting? “I got a call from someone at Warner Brothers who had seen me speaking at a lunch. He said they were looking for a Robbie Coltrane double. I gave him a hard time at first because I thought he was a wind-up merchant. I’ve been in five films so far and we are about to start filming the last one. It was great to meet the late Richard Harris on set because he was such a huge rugby fan.”