He appears in Downton Abbey, one of a wave of TV dramas centred on class, and in the Radio Times this week the actor Rob James-Collier was asked whether working-class talent was being squeezed out of the profession. James-Collier was born in Stockport, and defines himself as working class, and his answer was direct. As with so many other jobs at the moment, he said, you have to work for no money when starting out, and "how on earth are you going to finance that" if you don't come from a wealthy background?
His comments tapped into a question that has arisen repeatedly this year. Can anyone but the exceptionally well-heeled, wealthy, connected upper classes now make it in the arts? In acting, in particular, the question was thrown into sharp relief in January,