Coronation Street star Antony Cotton has hit back at claims that actors and creatives should retrain in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak provoked anger from musicians and members of creative industries earlier this month after suggesting those left jobless by the pandemic should retrain for another role.
Antony criticised the comments on ITV’s Lorraine this morning, saying that the public has relied on television to get through lockdown.
Speaking to presenter Christine Lampard – who is filling on for the titular host during half term – about how important the arts and entertainment has been to people during the pandemic, Antony said: ‘You say that the audience needs us. [Why] tell people to retrain and do other jobs?’
He added: ‘What would we do without television? That’s literally the one thing that’s kept everybody going.’
‘Whether that’s news or documentaries or dramas, we’ve needed television. We’ve needed creatives to tell stories. So I’ve been really lucky and grateful to have been back in work since July.’
Antony isn’t the only celebrity involved in the arts to hit back at the claims. Liam Gallagher called the chancellor a ‘massive c***’ after he made the comments, while Dave Rowntree — from his former pop rivals Blur — slammed the comments as ‘stupid’.
Antony was also on Lorraine to talk about the latest Coronation Street storyline, which sees his character Sean reconnect with his son Dylan (Liam McCheyne) who arrived on the cobbles earlier this week.
He said: ‘Actor Liam was there since he was a little baby. I’ve known him all his life. For an actor to come back as an older child, it’s really unusual. He’s absolutely knock-them-dead brilliant.’
Speaking about the father and son dynamic, Antony added: ‘We started to play it with me as petulant child and he as the grown up.. That’s what I want to explore with it. I’ll be the one sulking and throwing my toys out the pram.’
He added: ‘The dynamic is going to be really interesting… They’ve found their feet and got the measure of each other.’
Lorraine airs weekdays at 9am on ITV.
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