Brian Cox claims English snobbery partly to blame for move to Holywood

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SCOTS actor Brian Cox has claimed English snobbery was partly to blame for his decision to move to the US.

Cox, 71, who portrays Winston Churchill in an upcoming biopic, said that he and fellow actors including Sir Anthony Hopkins had been treated as inferiors because they were not English.

The Scot is best known internationally for his role as a deceitful CIA operative in the Bourne films.

Brian Cox

He explained that his move to Hollywood in 1995 was in part to escape a country where snobbery was rife.

He said: “Tony Hopkins and I have one thing in common: we are not English.

“It’s a very interesting thing about the feudalism of English society. It’s about who you are and where you come from, how you operate within that world.”

He added that although class discrimination is less obvious, it still sits beneath the surface. “It’s the caste system, which still exists and is actually even worse now. I mean it really is – it’s more insidious.”

Scots actor and comedian John Sessions, who was born in Largs, Ayrshire but brought up in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, gave Cox partial backing.

Sessions, 64, said that he had encountered a “little bit” of anti-Scots and anti-Welsh sentiment, and that he believes English society was riddled with traps that could expose social inadequacy.

He said: “You can say something apparently innocuous and it’s like you stood on a rake – if you use the wrong knife and fork or something. The old class system is still there. It’s at its most virulent among the middle classes. I’m a bit of an Evelyn Waugh in that I have a real fascination for the toffs.”

But Sessions added: “I don’t think I’ve really [suffered discrimination]. I think most of it’s in my head.”

Despite Cox’s comments, there is no shortage of Scots stars who have made it to the top, including Ewan McGregor, James McAvoy, Peter Capaldi, David Tennant, Kelly McDonald, Alan Cumming, Sir Sean Connery, Ken Stott, Ashley Jensen and Richard Wilson.

And Paisley-born Tom Conti, 75, asked: “Snobbery against what? No, I have never felt that. How very odd, I thought that they [Cox and Hopkins] had very good careers in England. They both worked at the National Theatre and suchlike.”

 
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