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Sherlocks Andrew Scott calls for better sex education in schools: We need to talk about consent and desire

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Sherlock's Andrew Scott calls for better sex education in schools

Andrew was happy to see sex being addressed openly in an Irish film (Picture: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Andrew Scott has called for better sex education in schools – particularly in his home country of Ireland.

The actor moved to London the late 1990s and has since become a worldwide star thanks to roles in Sherlock and Spectre.

However, his latest role sees him return to his roots, acting alongside Cillian Murphy, Eva Birthistle and Catherine Walker in Mark ORowes The Delinquent Season – a drama which follows two couples in Dublin who begin to experience difficulties in their relationships.

And Andrew – who plays the volatile Chris – was happy to be in an Irish film that talks about – and films – sex in such an open way.

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Speaking at the Irish Film Boards screening of The Delinquent Season at Regent Street Cinema, Scott said: Mark ORowe is one of the major Irish playwrights and Ive loved his work for years. They sent the script towards the end of last year, and I knew that Cillian was attached to the film, so Ive always wanted to work with him.

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I was very intrigued by the idea of sex being talked about in an Irish movie. When I started out acting in Irish films in the 90s, a lot of the subject matter was oppression, and Catholicism, and famine, and things we associate with Irish people – lots of rainy films set in the 50s.

So I thought it was interesting that a film would be about an Ireland we dont really get to see a lot of on film – theres a melancholy vibe to it, and its European in feel.

The big challenge for me was how we should try not to judge these characters. The way we talk about relationships is very lacking in innovative thought and is quite judgemental. I liked that you can have a particular idea about a relationship at the start of the film, and those thoughts might change. We all have particular ideas of what may or may not be going on, and we love to talk about other peoples relationships. But not everything is black and white. Its dangerous to think “oh, that would never happen to me – Id never betray and Id never be betrayed”. Thats an easy position to take. The film does challenge that.

Andrew Scott at Olivier Awards

Andrew grew up in Dublin but moved to London 19 years ago (Picture: ANTHONY HARVEY/AFP/Getty Images)

Andrew called Ireland one of the worlds most progressive nations following the landslide victory in the referendum to legalise abortion, but said the country still has a long way to go when it comes to discussing sex and teaching people about consent and sexuality.

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The 41-year-old said: One of the most insidious things in my generation and the generations before was the stronghold of the Catholic Church. I think what was insidious about the Church was the shame and embarrassment they placed on sex.

I was recently asked if there was anything in Irish culture I think should be changed, and I feel very passionately that we should change our sex education. I remember in school we had a book called Senior Biology, an incredibly dull book, very thick – and there were two very embarrassing pages where the teacher flipped through and said “this is what it is, and well move on now and look at amoebas”. We need to teach about consent, sexuality, desire.

The actor, who is openly gay, continued: We have to be very delicate about when we talk to children about sex, but it has to be done. So many of the problems I felt were because of shame or the law – I was unable to express myself because I thought it would be shameful, so I set about becoming what was morally my duty, being the really good friend, an upstanding young man.

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And what happens to you then, it cause problems later on in life, because it has to express itself at some point. I feel very passionately that its something we should speak about.

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The Hamlet star also said that Irish film absolutely needs to improve on its ethnic diversity.

He said: I moved here in 1999 and when I go back to Ireland, Im amazed by the different faces that you see on the street and the different restaurants we have. Those voices have to be listened to. We cant just be complacement, we need to call to those people who see themselves as Irish.

I used to wonder how I would be a gay person who was Irish, because that didnt exist – until it did exist. But its not about sexuality or nationality, its about finding your own voice.

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