The Poldark actor Richard Harrington has revealed how he got a job as a takeaway delivery driver after being left unemployed by lockdown.
The 45-year-old, who has also appeared in Hinterland, The Crown and Gangs of London, said he took the job in the capital last year after spring and summer projects were cancelled because of the pandemic.
He told BBC Wales: “I did nothing between March and September at all. I got a job with Deliveroo – I went around on my bike giving takeaways to people in London. I’m usually fairly fit but the first lockdown turned into a lock-in. So I was very grateful to be able to get on my bike every day.”
Harrington and his partner, the actor Hannah Daniel, are expecting their second child later this year.
His experience mirrors that of many other actors during the pandemic, with the creative industries some of those hardest hit. Equity, which represents people working in the arts, estimates 40% of its members have had no financial support from the government’s furlough or self-employed grant schemes. They have either been forced on to universal credit or have taken work outside the industry.
Anna-Jane Casey, who has appeared in West End shows including Chicago and Billy Elliot, and her husband, Graham MacDuff, also an actor, were forced to search for work when theatres closed in March last year. They used the last of their savings to buy a £3,000 secondhand Vauxhall Vivaro van and began making deliveries across Kent for a courier company in June.
In December last year, the former Coronation Street and Emmerdale actor, Bill Ward, told BristolLive he had been working about 30 hours a week as a delivery driver for Tesco since the end of May. The father-of-two had been touring the Glee Club before the first national lockdown brought the production to a halt.
Last month, Asa Elliot, who appeared in the ITV sitcom Benidorm between 2010 and 2014, told BBC Look North he had been working as an Asda delivery driver since July last year. Elliot had been singing on cruise ships before the virus struck.
Paul Fleming, Equity’s general secretary, has said the struggles of actors and others employed in the arts is likely to lead to an “ever more elitist creative industry”, because those in hardship and forced to work in other sectors are disproportionately more likely to be from working-class backgrounds or marginalised groups.