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Neil Morrissey says working-class actors are 'under-represented' as Oxbridge financiers 'want their own'

Amy Johnson
·2-min read
Neil Morrissey attends the Channel 5 2020 Upfront photocall at St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel on November 19, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Neil Morrissey attends the Channel 5 2020 Upfront photocall at St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel on November 19, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Neil Morrissey has said working-class actors are "under-represented" because productions are funded by “Oxbridge people”.

The Men Behaving Badly star, who was born in Stafford, also stated that Northern actors are "hard to sell" to US networks. 

Morrissey, 58, told the Radio Times: “When Oxbridge people are pumping a lot of money into a production, they want their own.

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“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.”

Neil Morrissey starred in Men Behaving Badly with Martin Clunes, Leslie Ash (bottom left) and Caroline Quentin. (Photo by Rebecca Naden - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Neil Morrissey starred in Men Behaving Badly with Martin Clunes, Leslie Ash (bottom left) and Caroline Quentin. (Photo by Rebecca Naden - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

However, Morrissey went on to say that there could be change on the horizon for TV and the stories shown because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

He said: “We just went through a period with all these glamorous series about spies or aspirational families.

“But I’ve got a feeling we’re going to head into a transition period, a bit like the kitchen sink era, where we’re going to want to know about the general public and the frontline workers. I think a lot of people are going to want to tell their stories.”

Neil Morrissey attending the National Television Awards 2017 at the O2, London. (Photo by Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images)
Neil Morrissey attending the National Television Awards 2017 at the O2, London. (Photo by Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images)

Morrissey grew up in care from the age of 10, a subject he covered in BBC documentary Neil Morrissey: Care Home Kid back in 2011. 

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He later studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with the help of a grant. 

As well as playing Tony in Men Behaving Badly, his other notables roles include Rocky in Boon, Eddie Lawson in Waterloo Road and voicing Bob the Builder as well as many other characters on the animated series. 

With additional reporting by PA.

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