Scottish actors call for more Scots to be cast in Scottish roles

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SCOTTISH actors are calling for more Scots to be cast in Scottish roles.

It follows the success of the new Netflix series Behind Her Eyes which sees English actor Tom Bateman portray a Scottish character called Dr. David Ferguson.

Despite the show topping the Netflix UK viewing charts, Bateman’s accent has come under fire with some viewers describing it as “scary”.

Fergie Fraser - Entertainment News Scotland
Fergie Fraser is a Scottish actress calling for more Scots to be given Scottish roles

The programme has provoked much discussion on social media and has drawn attention to the debate of whether non-Scottish people should be cast in Scottish roles.

Budding actress Fergie Fraser, 22, from Edinburgh tweeted on Wednesday (24 FEB): “Please please please please please can we stop casting non-Scottish people in Scottish roles.

“If a character needs to be Scottish for the story line, cast a Scottish person.

“If they don’t need to be Scottish then please god don’t make them try a terrible accent. It’s unnecessary.”

Fergie Fraser tweet on Scottish actors - Entertainment News Scotland
Fergie Fraser calls for Scottish actors to be given Scottish roles

The problem she believes stretches far beyond poor accents though.

She added: “If the drama is about Scottish life and culture and it’s important for the characters to be Scottish, we should try our best to cast Scottish actors.

“However, if the Scottish accent is there just for effect then we need to make sure that people are getting the accent correct and not doing poor imitations!

“Scottish drama is so under represented – how many Scottish actors can you name and how many purely Scottish films, TV shows about Scottish culture can you name?

“I think if the show is about Scotland we should give Scottish actors the chance to represent.”

Charlie Vero-Martin, an actress, writer and comedian from Edinburgh who has written for BBC Scotland and Radio 4, added to the discussion, saying: “I think this is particularly felt by Scottish actresses.

“They’d rather cast a famous actress who had a Scottish parent or connection Eg Emma Thompson, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, Cate Blanchet, Tilda Swinton for the few female Scottish roles that are written.

“Kelly McDonald is about the only Scottish actress you see getting [to] play Scottish characters and yet Reese Witherspoon was originally meant to play Merida in Brave… could you imagine? I’m sad enough Michelle Gomez wasn’t in it.”

Rebecca Lafferty - Entertainment News Scotland
Rebecca Lafferty shares her own experience of the industry

With credits in the West End production of Les Miserables and a spot in the upcoming worldwide tour of ‘Bat Out Of Hell, Rebecca Lafferty from Ayrshire shared her own experience of the industry.

She said: “I once had to help my English friend with her Scottish accent for a self-tape for a Scottish part in a very Scottish TV show… the irony.”

The discussion arrives a couple of weeks after the Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh were under fire for failing to cast Scotland-based talent in a new play by Ravenhill.

At the time of its announcement, Glasgow-based writer and actor Daniel Cameron, who was a winner of BAFTA Scotland’s New Talent Winner in 2016, tweeted: “Cast Scottish and Scotland-based actors for Scotland-based projects.”

Daniel Cameron tweet - Entertainment News Scotland
Glasgow-based actor and writer Daniel Cameron adds to the discussion 

“For the reason that, more often than not, many Scottish and Scotland based actors are overlooked for said projects.

“Not to say that these jobs should exclusively be cast in Scotland but there are so many actors and creatives who are understandably frustrated at not even being seen for projects based in Scotland.

“It’s a nuanced discussion isn’t it, but I think the frustration at lack of opportunity is intensified by the current situation.”