Fleabag actor Andrew Scott has said being referred to as an "openly gay" actor implies a defiance that he does not feel.

The Irishman, who attracted a new legion of fans as the hot priest in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s comedy-drama, said the term does not reflect who he is.

The 42-year-old told British GQ magazine: You’re never described as openly gay at a party – ‘This is my openly gay friend Darren’, ‘She’s openly Irish’. It implies a defiance I don’t feel.

Scott, who first found fame as villain Jim Moriarty in Sherlock, said it was perfectly feasible for a gay actor to create the required on-screen chemistry when acting a straight relationship.

Sexuality isn’t something you can cultivate, particularly, he said. It isn’t a talent… You believe the relationship, that’s my job.

The Dublin-born actor added that his great love is theatre, after completing a run of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter at the Old Vic.

He said: You direct yourself. Of course there’s a director, but in the auditorium, if you feel the audience is getting a little coughy, you’ve got to think ‘Well, it’s my job to get them back’.

Scott was honoured this week with the Standout Performance prize at the GQ Men of the Year Awards 2019.

He was stunned when Waller-Bridge turned up to present him with the award.

Scott said: What a beautiful thing – I’m so touched that Phoebe came to do that for me. I’m thrilled that it was Phoebe.

Quizzed about the success of Fleabag, he said: There are television programmes that entertain people, but I think there are certain television programmes that sort of touch people and make people think, ‘oh, they’ve seen me in that’, and that’s what you really want to do as an actor, you really want to touch people,… before pulling a face and erupting into laughter.

Asked if he was fed-up of being referred to as the hot priest, he said: Not really. I suppose I’m protective of what Phoebe wrote.

He added: She wrote a really complex sort of character, so you always want to protect that a bit, but listen, there are worse things in life.

Scott was asked if there were any plans in the offing to work with Waller-Bridge again.

He revealed: There are some plans actually, yeah, there are some plans. I’m afraid I can’t reveal what at the moment, but yeah, we’re definitely going to work together.

(c) Sky News 2019: Fleabag actor Andrew Scott: Being referred to as ‘openly gay’ implies defiance I don’t feel