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'."
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.
Best films to watch in 2015
Best films to watch in 2015
1/9 Suffragette - 11 September
Meryl Streep is bound to make a formidable Emmeline Pankhurst in Sarah Gavron's new film about the British women's suffragette movement of the early 20th century. Streep is again working from a screenplay by Abi Morgan who also wrote The Iron Lady.
2/9 Far From The Madding Crowd - 1 May
Thomas Vinterberg turns his hand to Thomas Hardy and British costume drama. Memories of the John Schlesinger version with Alan Bates and Julie Christie will be hard to exorcise. Carey Mulligan and the mercurial Flemish actor Matthias Schoenaerts star as Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak.
3/9 Jurassic World - 12 June
The third Jurassic Park sequel is finally here starring Chris Pratt. The storyline goes something like this - theme park gets dinosaur to attrack visitors and it all goes horribly wrong. Should prove a fun one among cinema-goers.
4/9 Terminator: Genisys - 3 July
Arnold Schwarzenegger kept his promise - he's back and he's trying to stop Judgement Day.
5/9 Spectre - 6 November
Bond is back for the 24th time. So is arch-villain Blofeld. Director Sam Mendes did a sterling job with Skyfall but the last movie ended on a very downbeat note with poor old Judi Dench signing out of the series. The challenge now is to reinvigorate a franchise that is already well into its 50s.
6/9 Cake - 20 February
It's Rachel from Friends as you've never seen her before as Jennifer Aniston plays Claire Bennett - a woman who initiates a relationship with a widower while battling hallucinations of his dead wife.
7/9 Suite Francaise - 13 March
It will be intriguing to see how Saul Dibb’s long-awaited adaptation of Irène Némirovsky’s novel deals with a problem that has often confounded British film-makers: how to portray French characters played by English-speaking actors in Nazi-occupied, wartime Paris without slipping into ’Allo ’Allo!-style caricature. Michelle Williams and Kristin Scott Thomas lead Dibb’s promising cast.
8/9 In The Heart Of The Sea - 13 March
Chris Hemsworth plays tough seafarer Owen Chase in this dramatic Moby Dick movie.
9/9 Cinderella - 27 March
Kenneth Branagh's live action remake of Disney's classic tale stars Downton Abbey's Lily James. Helena Bonham-Carter and Cate Blanchett also star as the Fairy Godmother and evil stepmother.
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.
"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."Reuse content