James Norton opens up about being ‘quite badly’ bullied at school for five years: ‘I didn’t have the greatest time’
James Norton has revealed he was ‘quite badly’ bullied while he was at school, describing those years as ‘complicated.’
The 37-year-old, who described his childhood as ‘idyllic’ grew up at the edge of the Howardian Hills in North Yorkshire, before going on to a boarding school run by monks in Ampleforth.
After studying at Cambridge and RADA, the actor, who is a favourite to replace Daniel Craig as James Bond, shot to fame in programmes including War & Peace and McMafia.
He is currently starring as psychopath criminal Tommy Lee Royce in the third and final outing of Sally Wainwright’s hit BBC drama, Happy Valley.
The Grantchester performer, who is engaged to fellow actor Imogen Poots, 33, reflected on his formative years on podcast Comfort Eating, which is hosted by journalist Grace Dent.
Speaking about his time as a student, he recalled: ‘My school years were complicated, to be honest. I didn’t have the greatest time.
‘I was quite badly bullied for five years and I was also at boarding school so I couldn’t leave.’
James continued: ‘I’ve had a great therapist for the last four years, and it’s not from a place of drama.
‘And I’m luckily not suffering from depression or anything like that but it’s been really, really helpful to understanding what [happened to me at school] .’
Opening up further about boarding schools, James described them as ‘really weird places’ noting that the UK was the ‘only country who still sends our kids away voluntarily.’
‘You’re stuck with these people, and all these young kids are just deeply, deeply homesick and they’re just lost,’ he added.
‘Some of them, that pain manifests itself in being needy or rebellious or maybe the class clown. But some of them get angry and rather than crying out for their mum they just bully someone.’
As well as Happy Valley, the star is due to take to the West End in A Little Life, a play adapted from the 2015 novel by American writer Hanya Yanagihara.
He recently spoke to Graham Norton about how he keeps going on stage despite having type 1 diabetes.
‘It is three and a half hours long. In the Dutch production, which went from Amsterdam to Edinburgh, and had a little run in New York, that was four hours, but the amazing producers made this only three and a half,’ he began.
‘I have one interval, but the book is 800 pages, so there’s a lot to get through.’
‘For you, you’re diabetic, so is that difficult to be on stage for that length of time?’, chat show host Graham quizzed.
‘The added component is that I don’t leave the stage for a couple of hours and I am a type 1 diabetic, so I have juice, and I can’t bring it up because it’s got branding on it!
‘But I have sweet things which I’ll have to have scattered around the stage just in case I go hypoglycaemic.’
Happy Valley continues on BBC One and iPlayer on Sunday at 9pm.
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