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Christopher Eccleston hits out at lack of working class representation in the arts

Former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston has claimed that his working class roots put him at a disadvantage to the “boy’s club” of public school-educated actors.

He made the comments on Sky News earlier today, following the release of a new Labour report which claims that the class-divide in the performing arts is putting lower class creatives at a disadvantage.

“If ever I go up against anybody who is from a middle class background, or has been public school educated – and particularly if they’ve been to Oxbridge – I’m at a disadvantage,” he says. “They have a superior education to me, and also it’s a ‘boy’s club’.

“I do have an advantage, because I’m white and I’m male,” he admits, “but it was a lot easier for me than it is for the equivalent [today]. I could not have gone to drama school today – my parents could not have afforded to pay for me to go to drama school now. People like me are not gonna come through anymore.

“There is no way that film and television in this country reflects the multicultural society we live in. If you are working class, [or] if you are non-white, you are at a severe disadvantage.”

Check out his comments in full below.

Christopher Eccleston’s comments reflect a Labour report, published yesterday, criticising the lack of class diversity within the arts.

The Acting Up report states that the performing arts are “increasingly dominated by a narrow set of people from well-off backgrounds”. Stage, film and TV are all under scrutiny.

“In an industry where perception and wealth are so important,” the report continues, “recognising and understanding the role class plays is crucial. But at the moment there’s a big C-shaped hole.”

Tracy Brabin, a former actor and MP who led the inquiry says “the systematic eradication of arts education in schools, sky-high drama school audition fees, chronic low pay and a lack of diversity behind the scenes are all contributing to a diversity crisis on our stages and screens.”

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