Charles Dance opened up about his working class background as he lamented the lack of opportunities for state-educated actors.
The 69-year-old distanced himself from co-stars such as Ampleforth-educated War and Peace star James Norton and Old Etonian Dominic West as he admitted his upbringing taught him to ‘value every penny that I earn’.
Charles Dance (Evan Agostini/Invision/PA)
He told Radio Times: “It seems to me there are fewer opportunities now for people who come through the state education system. I didn’t go to a public school, but I know from people who did that there is a great drama department at Eton…
“There are more opportunities than in the state system, if there is talent there to be developed at that stage.”
Charles might give the impression of high-class breeding, but he claims the reality is opposite.
Charles starred in Christmas hit And Then There Were None (BBC/Mammoth Screen/Robert Viglasky)
He grew up with his mother, Nell, a former parlourmaid and father Walter, an engineer, in Redditch, before the family moved to Plymouth after his father’s death and his mother married her lodger, Edward.
“I don’t come from a wealthy family. I pretend to be aristocratic because of the way my face is put together, but there is nothing aristocratic about me at all.
“I do a job that is quite well paid and I am very lucky in that regard. And I value every penny that I earn,” he said.
Charles’s fear of work drying up has led to taking roles he regrets, not just in retrospect, but even at the time of filming.
Charles and Game of Thrones co-star Gwendoline Christie (Jon Furniss/AP/PA)
“I’m not as choosy as I perhaps should be, but I don’t like not working.”
Asked if he takes on roles that aren’t as good as they could be, he replied, “Yeah…there are one or two things, probably more, that I have done when I’ve thought, ‘Mmmm, I shouldn’t do that.’”
Despite introducing himself to a new generation of audiences through his role as Tywin Lannister on Game Of Thrones, the veteran actor admitted he does get bothered by presumptuous fans asking for a selfie in the street.
He next stars in Deadline Gallipoli, a new First World War mini-series about three journalists reporting on the events of the front line.