Fleabag star was 'almost axed' from series days before filming

Virgin Radio

3 Jul 2024, 15:11

(L-R) Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the cast of Fleabag including Olivia Colman and Phoebe Waller-Bridge

We very nearly missed out on one of the most iconic actors playing a role in Fleabag.

Andrew Scott arguably stole the show as the "hot priest" in the smash-hit series, but he very nearly missed out on the role.

A former BBC executive has spilled the beans, confirming that Scott came close to being dropped from the show.



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The Phoebe Waller-Bridge project aired in 2016 and 2019 to rave reviews and critical acclaim.

Andrew Scott joined the show in the second series, and despite never finding out his name, viewers soon dubbed him the "hot priest".

He won many awards for the role, as well as nominations for a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award.

This success very nearly didn't happen, as executives were demanding to have somebody else in the role.

This is despite his success in roles such as Foyle’s War, Sherlock, The Hour and The Town.

The former BBC Director of Comedy Shane Allen said the first season of Fleabag was BBC-funded.

However, the second was co-financed by Amazon, and that's where it went wrong.

He says "a whole raft of US male execs turned up to the read-through and – bear in mind this was a piece exploring self-destructive feminism – proceeded to tear the show apart and demand Andrew Scott was recast with only four days until the shoot started".

Disaster was narrowly avoided when show writer and creator Phoebe talked them into sticking with her first choice of Andrew.

"Anyone less effervescently charming and smart than Phoebe would have buckled" said Shane.

Scott told People magazine that he loves the affection and attention he receives thanks to his Fleabag role. 

"I think it’s great," he said. "It hasn’t prevented me from spreading my wings and it was such a wonderful character and there’s much worse things to be called in life."

You just can't imagine anyone else in the role.