Neil Morrissey claims working class actors lose out on big roles

‘We’re always under-represented’: Neil Morrissey claims working class actors often lose out on big roles to their ‘Oxbridge’ educated peers

  • The actor, 58, who grew up in a care home in Stoke-on-Trent, told how working class stars such as himself barely land big global roles
  • Neil claimed: ‘When Oxbridge people are pumping a lot of money into a production, they want their own’ 

Neil Morrissey has claimed working class actors often lose out on big roles to their ‘Oxbridge’ educated peers.

Speaking with the Radio Times on Tuesday, the actor, 58, who grew up in a care home in Stoke-on-Trent, told how working class stars such as himself barely land big global roles as Americans see Brits as ‘fey James Bond-ish types.’

Discussing the difficulty in his field and if he ever felt intimidated by the fact that 46 per cent of Bafta winners went to private school, Neil explained: ‘When Oxbridge people are pumping a lot of money into a production, they want their own.’

Opinion: Neil Morrissey has claimed working class actors often lose out on big roles to their ‘Oxbridge’ educated peers (pictured in 2016)

He continued: ‘We’re [working-class actors] always under-represented, because it’s hard to sell a bunch of Northerners to an American network when they consider Brits to be slightly fey James Bond-ish types, not people who work in a factory.’

However, this isn’t something that concerns him as he added: ‘I’m not a networker. 

‘I was in a couple of successful things, then the networks came looking for me.’

Thoughts: Speaking with the Radio Times on Tuesday, the actor, 58, who grew up in a care home in Stoke-on-Trent, told how working class stars such as himself barely land big Global roles as Americans see Brits as ‘fey James Bond-ish types’ (pictured in Unforgotten)

Neil first hit the big-time in the early ’90s when he replaced Harry Enfield on Men Behaving Badly, starring opposite Martin Clunes, Caroline Quentin and Lesley Ash. 

He also found success when he went on to star in Line of Duty, starring as the shifty and decidedly crooked policeman DC Nigel Morton.

The actor has gone on to star in a number of productions, and will next be seen in the new season of The Syndicate.   

Reflecting on how his difficult upbringing after being raised in a care home didn’t affect his future plans, he said: ‘In my mind, I was never disadvantaged.

Claims: Discussing the difficulty in his field and if he ever felt intimidated by the fact that 46 per cent of Bafta winners went to private school, Neil explained: ‘When Oxbridge people are pumping a lot of money into a production, they want their own’

‘Money has never been important to me – I knew if you had it, you could buy a bigger lollipop, but it wasn’t a big deal. As a kid I always saw the light at the end of the tunnel. 

For more: Read the full interview in Radio Times

‘I always felt I was going to be doing acting as soon as I got out of the care home system. No one could drag me back. No social workers or psychologists could write another inaccurate report on me. Nobody could tell me a darn thing once I left.’

Meanwhile, the thespian revealed he was told off for cracking a joke while rehearsing for The Night Manager because the director was ‘very, very serious’.

Neil discussed his time on set of the BBC drama on Tuesday, where he portrayed MI6 turncoat Harry Palfrey in the show, which also starred Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston.

The spy thriller, which is based on the late John le Carré’s book of the same name, follows hotel night manager Jonathan Pine (Hiddleston) get recruited to infiltrate the inner circle of arms dealer Richard Roper (Laurie).

Looking back on the show, Neil referred to Hiddleston as ‘the muscly blond boy’ after he failed to remember the title.

A blast from the past: Neil first hit the big-time in the early ’90s when he replaced Harry Enfield on Men Behaving Badly, starring opposite Martin Clunes, Caroline Quentin and Lesley Ash

When reminded of the show’s name, Neil told the publication: ‘Yes, well I did that and the director [Susanne Bier] was very, very serious and oh, she was angry. 

‘So we’re in a giant shiny boardroom and everyone’s got suits on, as have I, and we’re running the lines.

‘I said something funny to lighten the mood, added an extra line or something, and everyone laughed except her. She said, “It’s not funny.”‘

Read the full interview in Radio Times.  

Oh dear: Meanwhile, the thespian revealed he was told off for cracking a joke while rehearsing for The Night Manager because the director was ‘very, very serious’ (pictured in The Night Manager)

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