Sign in / Join

Damian Lewis Insists Eton Education Makes Him ‘A Minority’ In The Workplace

Damian Lewis has added his voice to the ongoing debate about whether there is too much of a class divide in the world of acting, insisting that the arts are not dominated by privately-educated men.

Following the rise of stars like Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston, there has been much discussion about whether there’s a need for greater representation of working-class performers within the British acting scene.

However, while ‘Billions’ star Damian has said he agrees that there is definitely a need for greater diversity, he doesn’t see an abundance of upper-class actors as an issue.

SAV via Getty Images

During a webchat with The Guardian, he explained: “If theatre, film, TV, dance, opera, ballet are going to remain true artforms, they must be reflective of all society… but that’s a different point from saying that only privately educated actors are becoming dominant in acting, because statistically that’s not true.

“A handful of actors from privileged backgrounds have done well, very well, and of course that’s high profile news. But whenever I work, wherever I work, as an actor educated at Eton, I’m still always in a minority.

“What is true and always rewarding about the acting profession is that everyone has a similar story about them being in a minority. From whatever background.”

In the past, singer/songwriter James Blunt has spoken about how he felt his own boarding school education had held him back in the music industry.

Roy Rochlin via Getty Images

In an open letter to MP Chris Bryant published by The Guardian, he wrote: “EVERYONE I met in the British music industry told me there was no way it would work for me because I was too posh. One record company even asked if I could speak in a different accent.

“Every step of the way, my background has been AGAINST me succeeding in the music business. And when I have managed to break through, I was STILL scoffed at for being too posh for the industry.”

Similarly, last year, Laurence Fox hit back at comments made by actress Julie Walters about a greater need for working-class actors on both stage and screen.

David M. Benett via Getty Images

He said at the time: “I think people should keep pretty quiet about stuff like that especially given the money they earn. It’s not completely true either.

Unable to play video. Neither flash nor html5 is supported!