An Ode To Andrew Scott, TV’s Unexpected Sex Symbol

Back on screens in The Pursuit Of Love, Andrew Scott is reminding us of his magnetism once more.


by Guy Pewsey |
Updated on

When The Pursuit Of Love finally arrived on our screens, one imagines that many tuned in to see if the real life, rumoured romance of Lily James and Dominic West would be hinted at in the actors' scenes together. The answer? Not really. They played father and daughter. But if you were left disappointed, your hopes for gossip fodder left unquenched, then your thirst was doubtless diminished by the presence of someone else: Andrew Scott. Yes, the Hot Priest was undoubtedly a highlight of the period drama, playing Lord Merlin. An aristocratic neighbour with a killer wardrobe, Andrew knocks Lily, Dominic, Freddie Fox, Emily Beecham and, well, anyone off the period drama sex symbol podium. He has been branded 'perfection' by viewers. I am in vocal agreement. I worship at the altar of Andrew Scott. But what is it about him that appeals so much? To me, and to his legions?

Naturally, it really started with Fleabag, when he played the Hot Priest who inspired the eponymous heroine to unearth her previously buried ability to truly love someone romantically. His cheeky charm, his approach to faith and the iconic delivery of a simple word - 'KNEEL' - won me over and sent me running for a confessional booth. A crush was born. He is well-dressed. He is charismatic. He is talented. But his appeal feels, somehow, unlikely. Why is it so difficult to put ones finger on why I would like nothing more than his fingers on me?

Is it about his looks? I don't think it is unreasonable to state that Andrew Scott is not a Brad Pitt type, by which I mean that he is not the traditional poster boy. He doesn't have Poldark locks or a Greek God tan or a chiselled jawline. Perhaps this partly explains his appeal: pretty boys are all very well and good, but they don't necessarily translate into real life prospects. And Andrew Scott is firmly based in real life: you will never bump into Brad Pitt in the meatball queue at IKEA. He will never take you in his arms and whisk you home for some afternoon delight. But Andrew's more relatable charm and everyday face feels a little more primed for an actual meet cute. I think that maybe our eyes could, one day, connect in the vast warehouse in Wembley, as our hands reach for the last futon, and he might give me an appreciative wink as I say 'not at all, please, take the futon, you deserve it.'

Is it about his sexuality? Part of his appeal for me is that he is an out gay man, and so there is a scenario in an alternate universe where he could deign to love me. But I'm often surprised that female viewers are so besotted with him. Many people struggle to see gay men as romantic leads - it's why there are so many men in Hollywood who stay 'in the closet', and explains why talented gay actors like Rupert Everett or Alan Cumming often failed to book straight 'romantic lead' roles - but that doesn't seem like an obstacle with Andrew. Do women not know that he's gay, or is his magnetism so powerful that they don't care? My instinct says that the latter is the case here. A colleague also suggests that his homosexuality makes him a safe crush for straight women: you know from day one that he's unavailable, and you're not going to lose him to some rising star actress.

Is it about his roles? Do we love him because, psychologically, we have come to trust Phoebe Waller-Bridge so much that if she decides that this man in a dog collar is enough to turn to God for, then she must be right? Does the menace he exhibited in Sherlock, or in Spectre, attract us thanks to our predictable interest in the bad boy? His rare ability to charm, disarm and do grievous bodily harm does, after all, make him the perfect Ripley in the BBC's forthcoming adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith books.

On reflection, it's obviously a blend. For me, Andrew Scott is the whole package. He has puppy dog eyes, good arms and an accent I find attractive. He looks good in nice clothes in glossy fashion magazines, and seems sweet in interviews and on chat shows. He is talented, and chooses his roles well. I also imagine that he's kind, sensitive and also a bit sharp, but I'm definitely projecting.

Predominantly, it's something that you just can't verbalise. There is no formula for attraction. Andrew Scott is adored because he possesses something special. Something that speaks to a broad range of men and women. Something electric. I will continue to tune in to The Pursuit Of Love. I will await the Ripley series with anticipation. And I will think of him when I go to IKEA.

After all, you never know.

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