David Morrissey: “Intern culture” could squeeze those from disadvantaged backgrounds out of acting

“We have to be very careful because the fight is not going to be there for people from more disadvantaged backgrounds” The Driver and Walking Dead actor tells this week's Radio Times

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Actor David Morrissey has said that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are being squeezed out of the acting profession because of what he calls an “intern culture” in the creative industries.

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He tells this week’s Radio Times that young people with private money behind them are getting more opportunity because they can work for free, unlike those from poorer backgrounds.

“Television is doing very well for itself, but the trickle-down effect isn’t working,” said the actor who plays the despotic Governor in US drama The Walking Dead.

“We’re creating an intern culture – it’s happening in journalism and politics as well – and we have to be very careful because the fight is not going to be there for people from more disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Morrissey, who secured work at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre after leaving school at 16 and went on to study at the prestigious theatre school Rada, will return to BBC1 next week in three-part drama, The Driver (see picture).

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.

“It worries me that in the arts, which is essentially a very rich community, we’re not offering more support.”

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