Russell Tovey slams influence of 'toxic masculinity'

Russell Tovey felt a sense of "shame" about loving "drama, art and literature" during his childhood.

The 41-year-old actor has claimed that a culture of "toxic masculinity" shaped his attitude towards his passions.

He told The i newspaper: "I had a shame about giving a f***.

"I was told all that was ‘gay’. That really affected me. It took me a long time to accept and embrace those enthusiasms. Too long. I wish I could go back in time and tell the people who tried to make me feel small to just f*** off."

Russell hopes UK schools will reconsider their approach towards art education.

The actor - who has starred on TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic - shared: "Art education in our schools focuses way too much on the old, dead white dudes.

"There are so many contemporary artists - not white and not male - who could speak more directly to kids. Get them excited."

Russell claimed that art is "treated as superfluous by schools".

He said: "When children see themselves and their experiences on gallery walls they’ll get the point.

"I find it offensive that art is treated as superfluous by schools. It’s in everything. It’s maths, coding, clothes, cars, the furniture of the classroom … art goes into everything we make as humans."

The actor also regrets that "queer art was overlooked and pushed aside for many years".

Russell - who hosts the 'Talk Art' podcast - added: "Now we have so many queer artists with shows and profiles. But it feels to me that the queer artists who came before didn’t get their moment. I feel a responsibility to close the gaps in the art canon."