Danny Dyer says lack of working class people in the arts is ‘disgusting’

British actor Danny Dyer has said it is “disgusting” that “there aren’t many working class people in the arts”.

The former EastEnders star, 46, grew up on a council estate in east London and said “the classism of the theatre world” spurred him on when he was starting out as an actor.

Dyer also said he is hoping the new Labour Government will create change for young people from poorer backgrounds looking to enter the industry.

Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards 2017 – Arrivals – London
Danny Dyer at the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards (Ian West/PA)

Speaking to Radio Times, he said: “There aren’t many working-class people in the arts – it’s disgusting.

“The classism of the theatre world when I started out spurred me on.

“I wasn’t the most articulate, and I hadn’t studied (Anton) Chekhov, but I knew I had something.

“All great actors are weird. You’ve got to have a bit of trauma in your life – that’s your toolbox.

“It seems to have got worse since then – we need to get more working-class kids in the arts, but I haven’t heard any politicians talk about giving them anything to aim for.

“You don’t need to be that educated – it’s about being creative and expressing yourself.

The Radio Times front cover for the July 13-19 2024 edition
The actor was speaking to the Radio Times (Radio Times/PA)

“I’m hoping that’ll change with a new Government.”

Dyer stars opposite Plebs actor Ryan Sampson in the new comedy series Mr Bigstuff where he plays Sampson’s brother – “hard man” Lee.

Speaking about his role, he told Radio Times: “I know I’ve got a niche, but no one ever thinks of me for comedy.

“And Ryan knows I’m an alpha male who’ll cry at a film like Marley & Me.

“The press call me a hard man, but I’m just good at pretending. Sure, I can swing a right-hander, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to do it.”

Dyer’s breakout role was as Moff in the cult 1999 film Human Traffic, followed by parts in Mean Machine and The Football Factory.

He was recently brought on as a special guest during Robbie William’s headline set at British Summer Time (BST) festival in Hyde Park.