The Oscar for most pompous luvvie goes to… As Sherlock star Martin Freeman says actors are too self-important, our critic dishes out gongs for the worst offenders

An almighty balloon of self-regard went ‘pop!’ last week when television’s Martin Freeman – one of our more politically active thespians – admitted that actors can be pompous.
Mr Freeman’s remarks were swiftly interpreted as an attack on his Sherlock co-star Benedict Cumberbatch, who recently hectored a London theatre audience with a high-flown lecture on the Syrian refugees crisis.
Mr Cumberbatch, an Old Harrovian whose expensive education may not have stretched to many history lessons, ended his speech with the rallying cry: ‘F*** the politicians!’
The Oscar for most pompous luvvie goes to
‘Actors can be pompous and we overestimate our importance,’ said Mr Freeman, who plays Dr Watson opposite Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes.
The actor, who this year appeared in a Labour party election broadcast, rather hypocritically observed ‘it’s deeply annoying to hear someone like me, who doesn’t know everything, bang on – the quickest and most justifiable way for people to hate me’.
His comments may not earn him many friends in the more refined parts of showbusiness where, increasingly, actors take it upon themselves to establish a right-on political identity.
From the likes of Hugh Grant and Steve Coogan leading the campaign against Britain’s free Press to Hollywood stars taking shrewd career positions as Unesco ambassadors or on minority rights, actors have never been so eager to push themselves forward as leaders of political opinion.
Mr Freeman’s remarks in the Radio Times may not stop the steady stream of silliness from theatricals and film stars who think they have answers to the world’s problems.
The blight of the Left-leaning ‘luvvie’ (as Private Eye magazine calls them) is too deep-rooted for that.
But is it not a joyously comical aspect of public life? Along come these actor types, as self-inflated as motor car airbags after a prang, puffed up with a notion that they know how to put the world to rights: it is often far more entertaining, far funnier, than anything they produce on stage or screen.
The sight of a polemicising player is a delicious one, whether it’s ‘Hanoi Jane’ Fonda on Vietnam decades ago, the dotty Redgraves on international socialist revolution, that modest (multi-millionaire) bloom Russell Brand on the redistribution of wealth or even harrumphing Old Harrovian Cumberbatch offering us his anti- democratic prospectus. Just because they have an aptitude for standing on their hind legs and spouting a few lines while covered in greasepaint and powder, they suddenly think they are Barack Obama or David Cameron.

Just one small snag, of course: they have not been elected.
Few actors run for public office. Glenda Jackson became a Labour MP and a Forties B-movie actor called Ronald Reagan did reasonably well in American politics.
But on the whole, thesps steer clear of the vulgar business of doorstep campaigning. Their vanity shrivels from the prospect of electoral rejection.

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