- Is a qualified plasterer, and worked as one before getting into politics in the late 60's.
- Was sentenced to two years in prison in 1973 for picketing building sites.
- Had his autobiography published in 2003, and it stayed at the top of the UK best selling new books chart for 5 weeks.
- Had to turn down a role in Spielberg's Minority Report since he had already signed to star in another film.
- Plays the banjo and harpsichord as can be seen on various episodes of the comedy seriesThe Royle Family.
- In 2007 he had major heart surgery and underwent a quadruple heart bypass.