Jack Whitehall: “The idea that I got to where I am because of my dad is the one that hurts the most”

The comedian may joke about privilege, but he takes the “unfair leg-up” of his background very seriously

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Comedian Jack Whitehall is set to star in the plush new BBC1 series Decline and Fall, adapted from the high-society satire by Evelyn Waugh. A key theme in the story is being posh and consequently getting ahead in life – an accusation that Whitehall is often confronted with.

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“The advantages you get because of the public school system and how unfair it is – that sits with you for the rest of your life,” the British star said in this week’s issue of Radio Times.

The privately educated comedian is the son of Michael Whitehall, a theatrical agent and producer, with whom he co-presented Backchat. Whitehall and his father are about to embark on a tour of south-east Asia for a new Netflix show, Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father.

However, the assumption that his father gave him an “unfair leg-up” in his television career is one that unsettles Whitehall. “That needles me,” he admitted. “The idea that I got to where I am because of my dad is the one that hurts the most.

“It’s an easy way to dismiss everything, any ability or hard work, in one fell swoop.”

Whitehall will star in Decline and Fall alongside Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria; the series begins on BBC1 at 9pm on Friday 31 March.

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Read the full interview with Jack Whitehall in the new issue of Radio Times magazine, available in shops and on the Apple Newsstand from Tuesday 21 March 2017