Benedict Cumberbatch, Helena Bonham Carter and John Hurt sign letter backing Britain to remain in Europe

Over 250 actors, artists, authors and musicians have urged voters to Remain ahead of the EU referendum

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Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, Helena Bonham Carter and Sir John Hurt are among over 250 actors, musicians and artists calling for Britain to remain in the EU.

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The actors signed a letter warning that Brexit would “damage” the creative industries, and urged voters to back staying in Europe ahead of the EU Referendum.

Sir Patrick Stewart, Keira Knightley, Billy Nighy, Jude Law and Thandi Newton have also added their names to the campaign, along with artist Tracey Emin, comedian Jo Brand, musician Paloma Faith and The Night Manager author John Le Carre.

“From the smallest gallery to the biggest blockbuster, many of us have worked on projects that would never have happened without EU funding or collaborating across borders,” they write in a letter published by the Telegraph. “Britain is not just stronger in the EU, it is more imaginative and creative. Our global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away.”

Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson and Trainspotting director Danny Boyle are also among the 282 names signing the letter.

“Leaving the EU would be a leap into the unknown for millions of people in the UK who work in the creative industries, and for the millions more at home and abroad who benefit from the vibrancy of Britain’s cultural sector,” the letter continues.

“From the Bard to Bowie, British creativity inspires the world. We believe being part of the EU bolsters Britain’s leading role on the world stage. Let’s not become an outsider shouting from the wings.”

The letter was organised by the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, although not all celebrities and actors are backing the Remain campaign.

Actor Michael Caine said in a Radio 4 Today programme interview in February that he was against “being dictated to by thousands of faceless bureaucrats”, while former footballer Sol Campbell says he is backing Brexit because European rules on freedom of movement are “crowding out young English and British talent” from the Premier League.

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes said in an interview with the Mail on Sunday that he would be voting to leave the EU.

“I believe we should be out. It’s about philosophy, it’s about democracy, it’s about democracy versus autocracy, all of those issues,” he said.

“It’s not just that I think they are important – because they are – but I think it’s the wrong direction,” Fellowes added. “History has for hundreds of years been moving towards government that is answerable to the people and suddenly we have done an about-turn and we’ve gone back to the Austro-Hungarian empire. I don’t think that’s the right direction.”

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The EU referendum will be held on Thursday 23rd June. Ahead of the vote, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News will host live debates with leading politicians from both sides.