Wednesday 22 November 2017

Eton and Harrow vying for glory

The battle for the leading actor Oscar does not just pit two of Britain's biggest stars against each other, it also revisits one of the nation's most enduring rivalries - Eton versus Harrow.

Old Etonian Eddie Redmayne will be going out to bat for his old college against Harrow-educated Benedict Cumberbatch on the night, marking a rivalry usually played out on the cricket pitch.

The schools first faced each other on the crease at Lord's in 1805 and have continued to compete with Harrow winning by 63 runs last June.

Recent years have seen Eton dominate the acting world with Redmayne the latest in a long line of talent produced at the college including Homeland's Damian Lewis, Tom Hiddleston and the star of The Wire Dominic West.

But the rise of such well-heeled stars has not happened without criticism - last year Cumberbatch complained he had been the victim of "posh bashing".

The Sherlock star raised eyebrows when he said that he was considering moving to the US because he was fed up with being "castigated" for his public school background.

The comments came as The Walking Dead star David Morrissey voiced concern the acting business was becoming the preserve of the wealthy.

"There's an economic exclusion of working-class people happening now. I got lucky, but if I was starting out now, it would be a lot harder, because my parents could never have supported me through that 'Is it going to happen?' period", he said.

"I was able to go to drama school with a grant. I was able to do stuff at the Everyman and work there at the same time.

"Too often now, people come into the profession subsidised by their parents and they're not being paid."

Veteran actress Julie Walters has previously complained about the dearth of young actors from poorer backgrounds.

"The way things are now, there aren't going to be any working class actors," Walters said. ''I look at almost all the up-and-coming names and they're from the posh schools."

Press Association

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