James Fox says criticism of actors like Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne over their upbringing is 'classist'

Actors such as Cumberbatch and Redmayne often come under scrutiny for their privileged backgrounds

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The Independent Culture

Veteran actor James Fox has claimed criticism of "posh" actors is "classist", dismissing suggestions that a wave of privately-educated actors have been dominating the profession.

Fox, who is part of one of the most famous acting dynasties in Britain, told The Telegraph that the rise of upper class actors was redressing the balance following decades of success for talent from working class families.

"I was one of the only actors of my background who made it in my 20s. All the rest were working class: Terry Stamp, Albie Finney, Tom Courtenay, Michael Caine," he said.

"No-one turned around and said, 'Oi, all those working class people have got an advantage over you posh twits'."

Benedict Cumberbatch

Actors such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan and Eddie Redmayne often come under scrutiny for their upbringing, with leading figures such as Julie Walters and James McAvoy raising concerns that a career in acting is becoming the preserve of the wealthy.

McAvoy, who paid his own way through drama school, told the Herald of Scotland earlier this year that he was worried the industry was not representative of Britain as it is today.

Actor James McAvoy has voiced concerns over acting becoming the preserve of the wealthy

"Nobody has got anything against an actor who is posh and is doing really well," he said. 

"But we are worried about a society that doesn't give opportunities to everybody from every walk of life to be able to get into the arts, and that is happening."