Vicky McClure says the industry is 'going backwards' for working class actors who are being priced out in favour of privately-educated peers

She was forced to turn down a place at the prestigious Italia Conti drama school as a teenager as she couldn’t afford to attend.

And decades on, Vicky McClure has said the industry has 'gone backwards' in terms of opportunities for working class actors who are being priced out of the industry.

The Line of Duty star, 41, who grew up in Nottingham and went to Fernwood Comprehensive School, has said that attending pricey drama schools and going to auditions isn’t possible for many aspiring stars.

Her comments come in the wake of a new report by The Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, which revealed working class representation in film and TV is at its lowest level in a decade.

Just one in 12 people working in film, TV and radio are from lower socio-economic backgrounds, with 60 per cent coming from middle or upper class backgrounds.

Vicky McClure, 41, has said the industry has 'gone backwards' in terms of opportunities for working class actors who are being priced out of the industry

Vicky McClure, 41, has said the industry has 'gone backwards' in terms of opportunities for working class actors who are being priced out of the industry

She was forced to turn down a place at the prestigious Italia Conti drama school as a teenager as she couldn¿t afford to attend but got her break years after in This Is England '88 (pictured)

She was forced to turn down a place at the prestigious Italia Conti drama school as a teenager as she couldn’t afford to attend but got her break years after in This Is England '88 (pictured)

'What frustrated me so much about that particular article is that we’re going backwards', she told BBC Radio 4’s Front Row.

She added: 'Why is that okay when the majority of people that are watching the shows that you’re producing are from working class backgrounds?

'And I think one: We should represent that authentically on telly and, two: You shouldn’t need to pay to get into the arts because it makes everything so samey.'

Vicky was offered a place at Italia Conti when she was 16 but could not pay tuition fees, spending the next few years working in retail until she got her break in Shane Meadows' This is England.

She said she wasn’t able to audition for the parts she wanted as she didn’t have money to pay for train tickets to get to them.

She added: 'I couldn’t afford the train tickets that I was having to pay for back then and the fees are even as extortionate as they are now'.

'How is a kid that is working as much as they can going to afford to just get to London the next day?

'That can often be the case - your agent will ring you and say there’s a meeting tomorrow.

The Line of Duty star, who grew up in Nottingham and went to Fernwood Comprehensive School, has said that attending pricey drama schools and going to auditions isn¿t possible for many aspiring stars

The Line of Duty star, who grew up in Nottingham and went to Fernwood Comprehensive School, has said that attending pricey drama schools and going to auditions isn’t possible for many aspiring stars

Her comments come in the wake of a new report by The Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, which revealed working class representation in film and TV is at its lowest level in a decade

Her comments come in the wake of a new report by The Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, which revealed working class representation in film and TV is at its lowest level in a decade

Just one in 12 people working in film, TV and radio are from lower socio-economic backgrounds, with 60 per cent coming from middle or upper class backgrounds

Just one in 12 people working in film, TV and radio are from lower socio-economic backgrounds, with 60 per cent coming from middle or upper class backgrounds

Vicky (pictured right in This Is England) was offered a place at Italia Conti when she was 16 but could not pay tuition fees, spending the next few years working in retail until she got her break in Shane Meadows' This is England

Vicky (pictured right in This Is England) was offered a place at Italia Conti when she was 16 but could not pay tuition fees, spending the next few years working in retail until she got her break in Shane Meadows' This is England

She said she wasn¿t able to audition for the parts she wanted as she didn¿t have money to pay for train tickets to get to them

She said she wasn’t able to audition for the parts she wanted as she didn’t have money to pay for train tickets to get to them

She said that 'nine times out of 10' she wouldn¿t get the part when she did audition, meaning the whole process was not 'accessible' to a certain demographic

She said that 'nine times out of 10' she wouldn’t get the part when she did audition, meaning the whole process was not 'accessible' to a certain demographic

'Well then you’ve got to get the time off work, then you’ve got to book a train without doing it 50,000 days in advance so you can get it cheaper, and then you go and do the audition.'

She said that 'nine times out of 10' she wouldn’t get the part when she did audition, meaning the whole process was not 'accessible' to a certain demographic.

'Self-taping has definitely been a massive help to people… I think that’s great. But it’s just not fair and it needs to be fair because the creative arts is for everybody so I’ll continue to bang that drum', she said.

Vicky, who still lives in Nottingham with director husband Jonny Owen, has her own production company, Build Your Own Films, which champions local talent.

She recently said that she doesn’t regret not going to Itali Conti as 'there are many ways to skin a cat'.

She told Radio Times: 'This business is too creative to need one set of skills. We can’t just give it to those who can afford it.

'What are we going to get from that? It’s not fair to expect an audience to always watch something they can’t particularly relate to. The world’s changed. Telling different stories is really important.'

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