Nighy tells of pride in gay role

(from left) Freddie Fox, Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy and Andrew Scott walk the streets of Camden to promote the new film Pride in London

(from left) Freddie Fox, Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy and Andrew Scott walk the streets of Camden to promote the new film Pride in London

First published in National News © by

Gay Pride stormed Camden High Street tonight as the stars of new comedy Pride marched to the cinema with a Welsh brass band for the film's premiere.

Bill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Paddy Considine, The White Queen's Faye Marsay and Life On Mars star Liz White were among the cast on the red carpet at the Camden Odeon in London.

Based on a true story, Pride is set in 1984 when a group of gay and lesbian activists at the Gay Pride March in London decided to raise money to help support the families of striking miners. When the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) appeared too embarrased to accept their money, they drove to a mining town in South Wales to deliver it themselves.

Nighy, 64, who plays Welsh Working Men's Club worker Cliff, told how proud he felt to be a part of the evening.

"We just marched down Camden High Street with the brass band from the movie.

"I loved the brass band. Once you've got a brass band you've got nothing else to worry about. Apart from anything, everybody gets out of your way. It felt great."

Speaking about his involvement in the film Nighy said: "One of the great developments in my lifetime, one of the things you might want to tell your grandchildren that made you obscurely proud to have been around at the same time, is the emancipation of gay men and women in my lifetime.

"And this is a really important part of that history. And it's shocking that as recently as 1984, a national newspaper could describe them as 'the slime of society' and nobody would bat an eyelid. Thankfully those days have passed.

"I think it's important that young people know that that's the progress we've made. With a view to, hopefully, that never happening again."

The About Time star also joked about how he would solicit men in Welsh pubs and ask them to help him work on his accent for the film.

Asked the secret to perfecting a Welsh accent, Nighy explained: "You go in pubs, with your iPhone and you go up to the men who you think won't be to scary, and you ask them 'Would you come into the carpark and speak to me while I record you on my phone?'

"And then you give them the lines and they speak them into your phone and you go home and hope for the best."

Sherlock star Scott, who plays Welsh gay rights campaigner Gethin in the film and is gay in real life, said it felt great to celebrate gay rights, but admitted there was still some way to go in terms of equality.

He said: "I think there's always a way to go. The war is never over.

"We're very lucky. The way gay people were treated in the 1980s was certainly very shocking, and certainly their representation in the media was shameful.

"So we feel like we've come a long way and that's good to celebrate."

Pride, directed by Matthew Warchus and written by Stephen Beresford, is released in cinemas on Friday September 12 2014.

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