Interview: Dougray Scott on what’s wrong with Hibs, reprising role in Irvine Welsh’s Crime and WaterAid role
Dougray Scott is not a happy boy. It’s just a few days after the latest Edinburgh derby, and the Hollywood star is still reeling about the way his beloved Hibs imploded in their Scottish Cup clash with bitter rivals Hearts.
“I knew I was going to get asked about this,” says the Glenrothes-born actor, laughing. “I was just saying, ‘one of the first questions I’m going to be asked about is the football’.”
Be that as it may, the star of blockbusters such as Mission Impossible 2, Ever After, Ripey’s Game and Taken 3 seems happy to give his tuppence worth, especially after learning he's in the company of a fellow long-suffering Hibby.
“I’m just beside myself – I’m very, very disappointed with what’s happening at Hibs. It's a long conversation. I think the structure is all wrong, I think they really need to turn everything upside down at the football club. And it’s been wrong for a long time.
“I would suggest that they, you know, change their recruitment strategy… I just don’t think it’s working with the players they’ve brought in. They are less than adequate for the Scottish Premier League.
“I don’t know how long it's going to take them to change things. I think the players have given everything they can, I don’t fault the players.
“[Manager] Lee Johnson, I’m not going to sit here and ask for him to go, because I don't know how good a manager he is. I think he’s been dealt a tough hand.”
While you get the impression the Emmy and Scottish BAFTA award-winning actor could wax lyrical on the Hibees for hours, it's not the reason he agreed to this exclusive interview with the Edinburgh Evening News.
Instead, he's here to talk about his work with WaterAid.
The 57-year-old star is using his celebrity profile to urge the UK public to help with WaterAid’s winter appeal.
The charity is aiming to raise £2.5million to bring life-changing access to clean water, decent toilets and hygiene facilities to healthcare centres in Mozambique and around the world. Currently one in four healthcare centres have no clean water on site – and almost half of healthcare centres have no basic handwashing facilities, putting staff and patients at a greater risk of getting ill.
In his role as an ambassador, Scott has witnessed WaterAid’s work in Mozambique, when he visited schools and communities who told him their stories of how not having clean water and decent toilets impacted on their lives.
“I’ve been involved with WaterAid for years. A long time ago I looked at the charity and thought it was a really, really worthwhile charity. I thought if I can do anything to help I will.
“That progressed into me making a trip to Mozambique a few years ago to visit the communities in Cuamba to see the work that WaterAid do. In particular what hasn’t been done, and what needs to be done. And also the difference a campaign can make to a community – i.e. the money that is raised from these campaigns and what an extraordinary difference it makes to these people’s lives.
“So you have basic clean water facilities for the heatlhcare centres in the area, and how it transforms their lives. From the kids who are at schools, to the women and the men in the communities. And the mortality rate goes down as well, because the dirty water has such a terrible adverse effect on health. The death rate just goes up and disease ravages these communities.
“It’s a humanitarian approach that I took to it – I thought if I could do something to help these communities then I will.
“We’re trying to raise money for WaterAid's Water Means Life appeal – and we'll try and raise as much as we can. Two and a half million pounds will make a huge difference to the schools and healthcare facilities in these communities, and I think everyone should try and give as much as they can.
“I know it’s tight times for everyone at the moment, but please just give as much as you can possibly afford.”
Later this year, Scott will return to our TV screens when he reprises his role as troubled Edinburgh detective Ray Lennox in series 2 of Crime, which is adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name by Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh.
Speaking about his return, the actor – who is also acting as executive producer – says: “Making Crime has been one of the most exhilarating experiences of my career.
“Series 2 just wrapped at the end of November and I am privileged to get to work with Irvine again – he’s probably my favourite writer. I love working with him, and he’s been a fan for years as well.”
Following his breakdown after bringing Mr Confectioner to justice in series one, Lennox returns to Edinburgh Serious Crimes ready to prove his recovery. But in the interim, Chief Superintendent Bob Toal (Ken Stott) has lost his mojo and Lennox's partner Amanda Drummond (Joanna Vanderham) has been promoted.
Coupled with the two new faces on the team, the devious Tommy Stark and failed actor Norrie Erskine, the new department will take some getting used to.
The hard-drinking, cocaine-snorting Lennox is a character Scott loves playing. “He's quite intense, isn’t he,” laughs the actor. “The hardest thing is that he’s a Hearts fan – but I love playing him.”