Andrew Scott in a red tuxedo gives a stern smile on the BAFTAs red carpet.

Why Would the BBC Think This Was an Appropriate Way To Talk to Andrew Scott—or Anyone?

Imagine you’re a journalist at the 2024 BAFTAs and you encounter the very talented, impeccably dressed Andrew Scott on the red carpet. What do you do? We know what you don’t do, which is to ask him about another actor’s anatomy.

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And yet that’s exactly what BBC correspondent Colin Paterson did at the BAFTAs on February 18. Scott’s film All of Us Strangers was up for six awards, while Scott himself was presenting the award for Best Animated Film alongside his co-star Paul Mescal. He was milling around the red carpet when Paterson caught up with him and threw out some bizarre questions about Saltburn, the dark comedy thriller which stars Scott’s fellow Irishman Barry Keoghan.

Why was Andrew Scott asked about Saltburn?

Andrew Scott was not in Saltburn, nor did he have anything to do with it. Yet that was the movie Paterson chose to ask him about. You see, Saltburn ends with Barry Keoghan’s character dancing around naked to “Murder on the Dancefloor” and Paterson seemingly thought that since Scott is a gay man, he must have an opinion on that, right?

Paterson asks Scott, “Do you know Barry well?” A smiling Scott says “I know Barry, yeah!” but things quickly go downhill from there. Paterson questions Scott about his reaction “when you first saw the naked dance scene at the end of Saltburn?” Scott stammers and mutters “Oh jeez” but despite his clear discomfort, tells the journalist he doesn’t want to spoil anyone for the movie. “Great,” was his verdict on the scene. But Paterson pushes further, telling Scott, “You can spoil away.”

Despite Scott clearly not wanting any more of this, Paterson asks him, “There was a lot of talk about prosthetics. How well do you know him?” The implications there are obvious: Paterson wants to know if Scott knows firsthand if Keoghan was wearing a prosthetic penis for his nude scene.

Scott rightly ends the interview there, walking away with a fixed smile on his face. “Too much?” Paterson asks him. A little bit, yeah.

People were shocked at the homophobia

Commentators on X, formerly known as Twitter, were shocked at the interview and how brazenly Paterson had asked a gay actor about penises like it was a normal thing to do.

Louis Staples of The i wrote that the interview clip was “excruciating to watch” and drew on his own experiences, writing, “It taps into an overfamiliarity a lot of us might have experienced, often from complete strangers, when it comes to sex … There is a subtle homophobia in assuming all gay men are sex-obsessed—or will leap at the chance to talk about other men’s penises.”

It’s also very discomforting how Paterson was fine with objectifying Keoghan and reducing his performance in Saltburn to his genitalia and nothing more. Turns out that it wasn’t even just Andrew Scott who was asked the question about Keoghan’s penis—so was Sophie Ellis-Bextor, the singer of “Murder on the Dancefloor”, who is a straight woman. She gave an equally confused response, basically saying she had absolutely no idea whether Keoghan used a prosthetic or not. And why would she? She just sang the song!

All in all, the BBC and Paterson have done poorly by Andrew Scott and Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Barry Keoghan here. Not a good look.

(featured image: Samir Hussein/WireImage)


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Author
Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.