Scotland

Alan Cumming 'relished' gay lead role in US show

Alan Cumming
Image caption Alan Cumming said he was a passionate supporter of independence

Scottish actor Alan Cumming has said he was proud of starring in the first ever network drama on US television to have a gay leading character.

The 54-year-old actor played Dr Dylan Reinhart in Instinct, which is shown on Sky Witness in the UK.

However, it was announced at the weekend that the show had been cancelled after its second series.

Cumming said he "relished" the chance to further the cause of representation and equality for LGBTQ people.

The actor, whose parts have ranged from BBC comedy The High Life to US shows such as the Good Wife and a Broadway version of Cabaret, said he had felt comfortable with the responsibility of taking on the ground-breaking role.

Image copyright Frederick M. Brown
Image caption Cumming with Instinct co-star Bojana Novakovic

On Sunday, the actor posted a message to his 350,000 Instagram followers saying he was proud to have been part of a show in which "millions of people will have seen a same-sex marriage portrayed for the first time".

Speaking to BBC Scotland's The Edit, Cumming, who has dual UK and US citizenship, said he had been surprised there was no negative reaction to his character in Instinct.

"In a time in America's history when it is obvious that bigotry and homophobia and racism are rife, it has been heartening to know there are people out there who don't feel like that," he said.

He said the drama had not sensationalised or drawn attention to the lead character's same-sex relationship and this "mainstream" approach had made it more acceptable to people.

"I've been in places like airports in cities across America and old ladies would say to me 'I hope you and your husband get to adopt a child'," he said.

"That is real progress."

The audience will now never find out if the couple get to adopt the child.

Cumming, who said he was "sanguine" about the show ending, joked: "One of the good things about the show not happening is I won't have to deal with any screaming babies."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cumming was a prominent supporter of the Yes campaign

Cumming told The Edit he was still a "passionate supporter" of independence and said recent events showed "enough is enough".

He said he thought a no-deal Brexit would "further and quicken" the move to Scottish independence and claimed Scots were "duped" at the 2014 referendum by being told a No vote would keep them in the European Union.

Brexit was another example of the Westminster government dictating a policy that Scotland did not want, he said.