It's harder than ever for northern working-class actors to land decent roles, according to Ian McShane.

The American Gods star, who was born in Lancashire, suggested more former public school pupils are making it in the industry these days at the expense of working class northerners.

He told Radio Times: "I find that appalling.

"The only way to make it is hope that you are cast as a northerner in an independent movie or go into Coronation Street and work your way out.

"For a lot of kids there are no grants for drama school. That's why everyone talks like that now [puts on a comical upper class voice].

"They're all public school. Public school boys have this self-confidence for no apparent reason.

"That's fine, it's what they are bred for, and I know Tom Hiddleston and Eddie Redmayne and they're nice guys.

"But there's room for a little more spreading it around."

McShane, 74, also spoke of the death of his friend Sir John Hurt during the interview.

Sir John died in January at the age of 77, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

McShane - who appeared with the star in The Wild And The Willing in 1962 - said the pair were the last of a dying breed.

"My oldest friend in the business, Johnny Hurt, died in January and I was jolted," he said.

"We were the last of the breed, but I'm still going on.

"The kind of acting I do is like being a hired gun. You go in, do what you do and then you leave town.

"You're there to bring authenticity, a bit of gravitas, weight and a sense of whimsy. That is why they hire me."