EDINBURGH, Scotland – It’s a much-loved American teenage comedy about a high-school pupil who skips school for the day after tricking his parents into thinking he is sick.
Now a classic scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has been recreated by Nicola Sturgeon and Alan Cumming for a TV show broadcast across the United States.
The Holywood actor and Scotland’s First Minister struck enigmatic poses in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, along with NBC host George Oliphant, for a travel show expected to have been seen by six million people.
The TV show, 1st Look, sees the actor and the TV presenter take a whistle-stop tour, including exploring Cumming’s roots in Aberfeldy, in Perthshire.
At the end of the show, which has just been aired in the US, Ms Sturgeon adopts the role of a tour guide to show off some of the highlights of the gallery – including portraits of Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott.
Producers of the show, which was launched to coincide with the unveiling of VisitScotland’s first global campaign, dreamt up the idea of replicating the scene from John Hughes’ comedy, in which Matthew Broderick, who plays the errant teenager, ponders a painting in the Art Institute of Chicago with his girlfriend and a pal.
Elsewhere in the gallery, Ms Sturgeon jokes about hoping to avoid the fate of Mary Queen of Scots, who famously had her head chopped off, while the trio are filmed underneath a striking portrait of a semi-naked Cumming with a kilt draped around his neck.
At one point in the gallery, Ms Sturgeon tells a nervous-looking Oliphant: “Relax, you’re among friends. Let me show you some of the famous Scots who have shaped our country.”
Cumming tells Oliphant: “Scotland in general values the arts very highly and I am a product of that. When the National Theatre of Scotland was founded ten years ago, I was so thrilled to come back to Scotland to be a part of it.” Oliphant said: “Scotland is an assault on your senses and is the kind of ambush you welcome with open arms.
“It’s easy to see that when you’re in Scotland, you’re not a tourist. You become part of the people welcoming you.”
The £4.2 million VisitScotland Spirit of Scotland campaign, which is aimed at “harnessing a nation behind tourism”, was launched by Ms Sturgeon at Edinburgh Castle earlier this month.
Malcolm Roughhead, VisitScotland’s chief executive, said: “This NBC program is a fantastic snapshot of what Scotland has to offer visitors.
“The USA is a diaspora stronghold and as one of our most important markets for ancestral visitors, we hope this program will inspire even more visitors to follow in Alan Cumming’s footsteps and take the journey to our beautiful shores.”