Sir John Hurt claims modern life is less fun because people are obsessed with dangers of drinking and everyone is supposed to conform

The Bafta-winning actor says political correctness is making modern society too restrained

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The Independent Online

Sir John Hurt has bemoaned life in today’s society for being less fun because people are more concerned about drinking, are less likely to give into temptation and everything is tightly controlled.

The V for Vendetta actor said society had become “obsessed” with the health risks posed by alcohol.

Hurt often drank with his partners in crime Peter O'Toole, Oliver Reed and Lucian Freud but in 2008 said his drinking days were long behind him. Speaking to the Radio Times on Monday, Hurt insisted he and his friends drank within a culture that “encouraged louche, creative people” and were never binge drinkers.

The 75-year-old, who has been cast in the Radio 4 play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, said times had changed since Bernard’s days as a Spectator columnist. 

“No one drinks so much, he said. “People don’t give in to temptation and everything is controlled.

“Society is much more homogenised and we’re all supposed to conform. People are censorious but the pendulum will swing back, as it always does. There were difficulties in those days, obviously, but life was more fun.

“We’ve become obsessed with the dangers of alcohol – you get newspaper articles that are entirely over the top. There’s political correctness as well. I wonder who instigated that? Where does it come from, and who says what is or is not politically correct?"

Hurt, who is currently receiving treatment for early stage pancreatic cancer, was also positive about his prognosis.

"I can't say I worry about mortality, but it's impossible to get to my age and not have a little contemplation of it," Hurt said. "We're all just passing time, and occupy our chair very briefly. But my treatment is going terrifically well, so I'm optimistic."