Actor Andy Serkis fears young British actors from poor backgrounds are purposefully snubbed by moviemakers.

The Lord Of The Rings star recently paid a visit to The Young Actors Theatre in north London, where he first learned his craft, and he took the opportunity to address a growing disparity in the film industry.

He is adamant those from a well-off background have a huge advantage at the start of their career as they can afford to pay for acting lessons.

Serkis told the aspiring stars, "There's a huge gulf between people who can afford to go to drama school and those who can't. There are still people with working class backgrounds coming through (in the entertainment industry), but not necessarily in acting... Unless you're actively making films about the working class environment, then (the jobs are not going to) very talented kids who haven't necessarily had tertiary education or privately funded education."

The actor also hit out at the lack of government funding for wannabe stars from less privileged backgrounds, recalling how he was able to get financial support as he tried to launch his career.

He added, "It's not like in my day, when you could get a grant and go to university. Now students have to take out huge loans. That's something that has to be reversed. Britain has enormous amount of talent, as we've seen from the BAFTAs. It's all here and it has to be allowed to flourish."

Serkis' comments echo remarks made by Dame Helen Mirren at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards on Sunday (16Feb14), where she spoke of the lack of opportunities for poorer youngsters hoping for an acting career.