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Being posh: blessing or curse?

Posh woes? Toby Stephens with Anna Chancellor in Private Lives at the Minerva, Chichester in 2012. Photo: Tristram Kenton Posh woes? Toby Stephens with Anna Chancellor in Private Lives at the Minerva, Chichester in 2012. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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The absence of feedback after auditions means actors often have to guess why they were passed over for a part. Too loud? Too rehearsed? Too John Barrowman?

But spare a thought for poor Toby Stephens, who told the Radio Times he had been typecast due to the “awful label” of being posh.

“I find it obnoxious how it defines you, somehow limits your ability to understand the human condition,” he moaned. “You can’t be allowed near emotions, you play these curling-lipped haughty characters.”

Ladies and gentlemen of the theatre community, drop everything. We’ve been focusing on all the wrong issues – diversity, gender imparity etc – and somehow forgotten all about the plight of the posh.

Stephens is right, of course. Cast your eyes at other well-spoken, privately educated actors like Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch – careers firmly in the gutter. Something must be done.

In the meantime, Tabard hopes Stephens will be consoled by the knowledge that – although it definitely, definitely won’t help his career – he is Maggie Smith’s son.

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