THE BBC has unveiled an ambitious timetable to begin using actors who did not go to public school.
By 2026 the corporation wants at least a third of its quality dramas to feature at least one leading actor who grew up eating ‘tea’ instead of ‘supper’.
BBC producer Nikki Hollis said: “We’ve tried getting the ‘Toms’ to pronounce their names as ‘iddlestone and ‘ollander, but it sounded like they had acid reflux.
“Hugh Laurie tried a Geordie accent, but anyone who’s heard his American accent in House can guess how that turned out.”
Hollis added: “The closest we could possibly get right now is Sacha Baron Cohen. He went to Haberdashers’ Aske’s and Cambridge, but can sound like scum given the right part.”
Oxbridge-educated writers will spend time in housing estates and the north so they can represent the poor accurately in scripts that will be dubbed as ‘gritty’.
Hollis said: “I have a friend who met Kathy Burke once, so I’ve always been committed to the cause.”