entertainment

Scots recall story of imposter schoolboy Brandon Lee ahead of new Alan Cumming film


Scots are intrigued about the story of imposter schoolboy Brandon Lee from Bearsden as Alan Cumming has been announced to play him in a new film.

The extraordinary story dominated the headlines in 1995 when it was revealed a 30-year-old man had managed to enroll as a 16-year-old pupil at his old high school in Bearsden.

Failed Glasgow Uni student Brian pretended to be Canadian teenager, Brandon Lee, to get into Bearsden Academy, the same secondary school he went to as a teenager 15 years before.

And he succeeded, even getting into the University of Dundee, before he was eventually rumbled and expelled for his deception.



The Daily Record in 1995 as we reveal the latest with sneaky student Brandon Lee
The Daily Record in 1995 as we revealed the latest with sneaky student Brandon Lee

Now the incredible story of how he managed to fool classmates and teachers for two years will be told in a documentary featuring X-Men star Alan Cumming in the lead role – and a title track by Lulu.

The doc ‘My Old School’ will be premiered at Sundance this month, including an audio interview with Brian, and interviews with old classmates and teachers at Glasgow’s Bearsden Academy.

Hearing his name again has triggered the memories of many Scots who recall the bizarre story first time round – and many have spoken online about their memories.

One person said: “It was a huge novelty thing, how he’d managed to fool everyone. Even the other 17 year olds he was at school with for that whole year.”

Another added: “He was quite a small chap, and he did have a boyish frame I suppose you would say. But he didn’t exactly hide away: he played the lead role in the school Christmas show!”

Someone else said: “One of my former colleagues was in his class at Bearsden. He doesn’t seem to be a well man -“

With a fourth recalling: “It was astonishing!”

A fifth said: “‘Brandon Lee’ was an interesting case. Colleagues have told me that entry to medical school got much tighter after he got busted. A friend went to school with him in Glasgow and said he was funny and charming and popular… but unfortunately over a decade older than everyone.”

And another chipped in: “I knew a girl who was at school with a guy (met him once) that pretended to be 17 yo (6th yr sr), but was actually 31! He really wanted to get his higher grades to go to med school apparently. No one clocked the 5 o’clock shadow or made up name, Brandon Lee.”

While someone else suggested: “Top 5 Scottish News Stories (All-Time) 1. Brandon Lee 2. Frank McAvennie School Dinners 3. Johnnie Beattie @ Rikki Fulton’s funeral 4. Michelle Mone 5. Sheena Easton Big Day 1990.”

Over on Alan Cumming’s Instagram others admitted they thought they’d made up the story in their heads because it was so remarkable.

One said: “I remember Brandon’s story so well as the adult me revisited this as I was convinced it couldn’t have happened. But it did! This looks an interesting take on things, will be sure to watch.”

And a second added: “We lived by Bearsden Academy and I remember by Ma saying some of the pupils looked awfully old. This was as Brandon drove past us.”





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