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Hair Apparent

Stop the presses! British film industry is middle class.

Not landed that dream gig yet? Maybe your hairstyle is to blame.

According to new research from the British Sociological Association, the British film industry is dominated by the middle classes.

No kidding, eh? There’s also not enough women and ethnic minorities working in film. When will the shocks end?

The study says that working-class people are discriminated against because they don’t have the “right accents, hairstyles, clothes or backgrounds” to get high-quality film and TV jobs through friends of friends.

Professor Irena Grugulis, of Durham University, and Dr Dimitrinka Stoyanova, of the University of St Andrews, spent three months interviewing 77 people working in the industry, including producers, directors, camera operators, location managers, researchers, make-up artists and PAs. Of those, 64 were middle-class, and 58 of these were engaged in high-quality work, defined by the researchers as feature films and terrestrial or satellite TV productions. Of the 13 working-class interviewees, six were working on low or medium quality work, defined by the researchers as pop promos, corporate videos or community TV. Only 29% of interviewees were women, and only 14% were ethnic minorities.

“Most jobs were gained through friends and friends of friends,” the researchers say. “Openings were rarely advertised and producers and directors tended to rely on the grapevine.”

Even though it’s all unsurprising, the stats are a bit depressing and show that there is still room to improve. There’s always the chance for a new haircut and a fake Oxbridge accent. Or, given the revelation that “a surprising number of informants were married to others in the industry” maybe it’s just time for aspiring filmmakers to consider a marriage of convenience.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Hairlarious - no actually serious that nepotism is still a factor in the industry....Skillset has done much to counter that with training initiatives, but there is a long way to go...

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  • Blimey!
    Me and me movie mates always knew there was a frew toffs, but cor! never knew, my son, there was so many middle of the roaders. Yer live and learn, don't yer!

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