Dougray Scott

‘My whole per­cep­tion about adop­tion changed the mo­ment I saw my son’

The Guardian - Family - - Front page - Dougray Scott is sup­port­ing WaterAid’s Un­tapped ap­peal. Ev­ery £1 do­nated to WaterAid un­til 31 Jan­uary 2018 will be dou­bled by the UK gov­ern­ment. Find out more at In­ter­view by Donna Fer­gu­son

My mum had a posh ac­cent and wore white gloves, while my great-aunts in Glas­gow stubbed out their cig­a­rettes on their hands

My dad was a trav­el­ling sales­man.

He knew how to be tough, but he was a gen­tle soul, with a soft side and a lot of pa­tience. Once I was seven, he took me on trips with him all over north Scot­land. I re­mem­ber those times vividly. They are some of my hap­pi­est child­hood mem­o­ries. I adored my fa­ther. He had been an ac­tor in Glas­gow once, and he had put on this trav­el­ling sales­man char­ac­ter in or­der to sell his fridges and freez­ers. Sub­con­sciously, I got my first act­ing lessons from him.

My par­ents met at a dance in Glas­gow

when my dad was 35 and my mum was 20. They were from very dif­fer­ent back­grounds. Mum was a nurse and had a lower mid­dle-class up­bring­ing, and my dad was from a rough, work­ing­class area of Glas­gow. Mum’s par­ents didn’t ap­prove of my dad. But my mum got preg­nant, so she had to get mar­ried. Her par­ents cut off all con­tact. I don’t think they even came to the wed­ding.

I am the youngest of four

– my dad was 50 when I was born – and my sib­lings would say I had it easy, that I got mol­ly­cod­dled. But I don’t re­mem­ber it be­ing like that at all. I do re­mem­ber my brother, who is 10 years older than me, throw­ing a gar­den fork through a snow­man and it get­ting stuck in my leg. He thought it was hi­lar­i­ous and I thought it was pretty painful.

We were quite a poor fam­ily.

We had no sav­ings and lived in a coun­cil house. My dad didn’t have a ba­sic wage, he was only paid on com­mis­sion, so he re­ally had to sell to make a liv­ing. At one point, when I was 11, I had to share a bed­room with my older sis­ters. It wasn’t great, shar­ing with your sis­ters when you are that age. I fought with them a lot – I hit one of them over the head with a golf club. That wasn’t very nice. But my sis­ters were strong. All my fam­ily are quite small and my lit­tlest sis­ter, who is 4ft 11½, was par­tic­u­larly fe­ro­cious. She was like a Scot­tish Tas­ma­nian devil. If I was get­ting has­sled at school, she would step in and ab­so­lutely de­stroy peo­ple.

My mother al­ways seemed very glam­orous and charm­ing to me.

All my friends and I were rough Fifers, but she had this posh Kelvin­dale ac­cent and used to wear white gloves. By con­trast, my great-aunts in Glas­gow would put their cig­a­rettes out by stub­bing them on their hands. They had no ash­trays down in Glas­gow. They were that tough.

You be­come fe­ro­ciously de­fen­sive of your chil­dren

when you be­come a par­ent. I have three kids – twins aged 20 and a son aged three – and I would do any­thing for them. Try­ing not to worry about them is the hardest thing about it. Ev­ery day, you worry about them con­stantly. It makes you wary of ev­ery­thing that’s around you. You want to pro­tect them for as long as pos­si­ble. It is hard to just let go. You can’t.

With my twins, I tried not to tell them what to do.

They grew up very close and sup­port­ive of one an­other, but they would also fight a lot. My strat­egy was to try to let them make their own mis­takes. When I felt I needed to step in and take a tough line, I did, but I was re­luc­tant to do that be­cause I never wanted to be an over­bear­ing par­ent. I hope I man­aged to find that bal­ance.

That one of my chil­dren is adopted makes no dif­fer­ence to the love I feel

for them. The first time I set eyes on Milo, I thought: that is my son – and he is. I love him just as much as I do my bi­o­log­i­cal chil­dren. There is no dif­fer­ence what­so­ever. I would put my life on the line for him, as I would for the twins. My whole per­cep­tion about adop­tion changed the mo­ment I saw him. He is part of me, 100%.

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