Olivia Colman: Harder to get domestic abuse awareness classes in private schools

Oscar-winner Olivia Colman has spoken about the difficulty of getting domestic violence awareness classes into private schools.

The actress, 49, is a patron for the charity Tender, which uses drama and the arts to promote healthy relationships and prevent domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Colman told Global Player’s The News Agents podcast: “I still find it fascinating that it’s harder to get these (Tender classes) into private schools.

“I think private schools think we don’t have issues like that, and statistically they do.

The 94th Academy Awards – Vanity Fair Party – Los Angeles
Olivia Colman received an Academy Award for her performance in The Favourite (Doug Peters/PA)

“Alcoholism, if it is from a posh wine bottle, is still alcoholism and just because the front door is nice, there can still be coercive, controlling, unpleasant behaviour behind that posh front door.

“You are not avoiding it by being of a higher socioeconomic background and I would love all schools to want their children to have happy lives. I don’t understand why there’s a discussion about it.”

The actress, who attended private school Norwich High School for Girls, said young people being influenced by misogynistic and hateful content that they can see online is “endemic” and Tender can address these issues.

Colman said: “You need people coming into your schools to say, ‘It’s actually not cool and it’s not funny, and to be a man who is gentle and protective is a much more impressive thing’.”

Teachers have previously raised concerns that misogynistic views are spreading into schools as a result of social media influencers such as Andrew Tate.

The actress said: “I don’t want to get gloomy about the fact that we have the Andrew Tates of the world. We do have so much good that’s happened…”

Colman said she thinks that there have been changes in how people view the LGBTQ + community, women speaking up and attitudes towards masculinity.

She added: “A masculine role model of gentleness is so much cooler, so much hotter – those people do exist. Harry Styles, he’s a very attractive man, to the women who fancy him, and he is not remotely an aggressive man.”

The Brit Awards 2023 – Show – London
Olivia Colman praised Harry Styles (Ian West/PA)

Colman also told podcast hosts Jon Sopel and Emily Maitlis that she had not watched the most recent series of Netflix’s The Crown, which covers more recent royal events.

The actress, who played the late Queen during the third and fourth seasons, said: “I feel uncomfortable answering questions about whether or not The Crown should have stopped before now because I loved the job.

“It was a great job. I’m not a spokesperson for the royal family, (I) don’t know them.

“I can understand, I can feel that maybe it’s too close to home now.”

Harry Potter film series star Imelda Staunton took over the character of the late Queen for the last two seasons.

The fifth series was criticised by Dame Judi Dench and former prime minister Sir John Major.

Netflix has defended the portrayals, saying it is a “fictional dramatisation”.

The sixth season deals with the response of the Queen to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and has come under fire from former royal butler Paul Burrell and former press secretary to the monarch Dickie Arbiter.

Colman received an Academy Award in 2018 for her performance in The Favourite, where she also played a royal, Queen Anne.