Last year, an important debate surfaced about privilege and class in the creative industries: some actors, like Downton’s Rob James-Collier and Julie Walters, felt their working-class backgrounds had worked against them in the industry, and put them at a disadvantage when it came to securing roles. Because drama school is so expensive, poorer students are effectively being ‘priced out’ of studying and are unable to attend, whereas more affluent students can often rely on their families to financially support their studies.
The public school-education of actors like Eddie Redmayne, Dominic West and Damian Lewis were cited as giving them the edge over their competitors. But now Lewis’ days at Eton have come back to bite him in the behind.
Lewis also once attended the Acland Burghley school – a north London comprehensive – and was invited to be the guest of honour at the school’s 50th anniversary celebrations last night (January 27). Not everyone was happy with the decision, though, to the extent that protestors drew up a petition opposing his involvement, on that basis that his Etonian education clashed with the values of Acland Burghley.
And who did those protestors want to replace Lewis with? None other than former student, Miss Dynamite. Taking it on the chin, Lewis – who showed up nevertheless – opened with the following joke: “For those who were hoping to see … Ms Dynamite I can only give my apologies – I was the only one available.”
I bet Lewis never imagined he’d play second fiddle to Miss Dynamite!