If you looked at the shortlist for this year’s Oscars, you’d find it populated with British talent. Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Felicity Jones, Rosamund Pike – and best actor winner Eddie Redmayne – are all enjoying a success in Hollywood, but Nick Frost is keen to point out that Brits don’t have to be posh to be successful.
“We haven’t all been to Eton and Harrow and Oxford, or Rada,” he tells the new edition of Radio Times. “Look at Gary Oldman, Ray Winstone and Eddie Marsan, Phil Daniels – working-class and just as good as Oxbridge [graduates].
“It’s about who you are inside, not which school you went to.”
Frost was brought up in Dagenham and made his way into acting thanks in part to his close friendship with Simon Pegg, the creator of Spaced (the C4 comedy in which Frost starred) and his co-writer on the Cornetto Trilogy.
He’s since gone on to appear in Mr Sloane, Cuban Fury, and has just finished work on The Huntsman with Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron.
And in his spare time he’s written a book, Truths, Half Truths & Little White Lies, a memoir recounting a tragic early life which saw his sister die of an asthma attack aged 18, his family business go bust and his mother become an alcoholic.
“My mum was of an age group where you didn’t want people to know your business; you didn’t wash your gear in public,” he says. “She would drink in their local pub amongst friends but she also drank at home.”
The actor recalls many boozy tales of his own in his new book, but warns: “In our culture there’s a real stigma attached to not drinking, which is weird. Drink is somehow safe because it’s government-backed and taxed. It is up to a point but there’s a lot of danger there as well. Once there’d be someone in the pub who’d step in and say, ‘That’s enough,’ if you had too much. But not now that pubs are closing and people sit at home drinking very cheap booze, which is more sinister because no one is looking out for you.”
The book also recounts tales of his early friendship with Pegg. Was the Star Trek and Mission: Impossible actor happy for Frost to reveal their tales in the book? “I don’t know. He hasn’t read it yet. I’m not an extra in Simon’s story, we both have our own stories, but I would never go into our relationship lightly. Our friendship doesn’t stop because I am writing a book. I know the things he wouldn’t want me to reveal.”
The new edition of Radio Times is on sale from Tuesday 13th October in shops and on the newsstand