The Acting Class, made by Deirdre O'Neill and Mike Wayne, is a 77 minute documentary that begins by laying out the facts about our film and tv 'icons', with screaming headlines about the number of famous actors that were privately educated.
Culture in Britain is dominated by elitism and the 'plummy accents' of white, middle and upper class males in a who-you-know world where barriers are shoved up at every opportunity; from actually being able to afford the education to get trained, to being able to find jobs in the industry.
As Maxine Peake says in the film, Britain's class system is still ruling... "They've never wanted the working class to have any power; they don't want us educated, they definitely don't want us to have any artistic inspiration" she fumes "It's not just about getting into drama school; if any young working class person now wants to pursue any career that involves any form of further education they're screwed."
The documentary is unashamedly full of people just talking and seething to the camera about how this is played out in real life – from aspiring actress Amy Stout, who had to turn down offers from the famous Italia Conti Academy as she couldn't afford the fees; to Bolton's Tom Stocks, of Actor Awareness, who has to do a call centre job to make ends meet.
Tom goes along to £35,000 a year Eton to show the coat-tailed, privileged kids who have a 400 seat theatre, in-house directors, studios and thirty productions a year to get their acting teeth into. Plus all the connections that Eton brings.
This is contrasted with Salford's Libby Hall who says her school doesn't even have a drama teacher, just the English teacher doing it on the side. She attends acting classes at Salford Arts Theatre, which is trying to give a leg up to young people in the city. But the odds, as this film brilliantly shows, are totally stacked against them.
A whole procession of actors, writers, directors, producers and even the top bloke from the Arts Council underline the point; which is basically, if you're black, or northern, or working class, you're fucked. And if you try to tell the stories of black, or northern, or working class people, you're equally fucked.
"If you are a producer and say 'I want to do a six part series about Salford', you're not going to get it" says Chris Eccleston "But if you're going to do Poldark or Downturd Abbey – you're in!"
Maxine Peake talks about the 'rocky road to hell' of these upper class costume dramas, as she, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Chris Eccleston and everyone else interviewed, not only take the piss out of what's served up on our screens but also get more and more angry as the documentary rolls on... "That's my career over" Maxine laughs...
There was a window a few decades ago where things were changing but what chance a Boys From The Blackstuff or an Our Friends In The North getting anywhere near the BBC, ITV or Channel 4 these days? None, everyone concludes.
It's a huge political issue for those who are trying to portray the reality of working class life in 2017.
The Acting Class, made by the same Inside Film team who produced The Condition of the Working Class a few years ago, is totally, totally relevant to everyone – relevant to those who want to work in culture, and those forced to consume the Oxbridge led shit thrown at our screens.
The ideological war on the working class isn't just being fought in the workplace, in the benefit offices and in the billionaire controlled media, it's also happening on a tv, cinema, stage and art house near you...
The Acting Class is being screened on Saturday 14th October 7pm, at Salford Arts Theatre, followed by a Q&A with directors Deirdre O'Neill and Mike Wayne, plus Andrew Ellis from This is England.
Entrance is a very affordable £5 – to book a ticket click here
The Acting Class is also being shown on Friday 13th October, 7pm-9:30pm, at Moston Small Cinema, followed by a Q&A with the directors. Tickets £5 – click here for more details.
To get a taste of The Acting Class see the trailer – click here
For more details about Inside Film – click here