A-listers gather to call on the UK to 'stay' in the EU

Actors, poets and creators say a Brexit would hurt Britain's cultural output

A-listers gather to call on the UK to 'stay' in the EU

Evan Agostini / AP

Film directors, actors, comedians and artists are named in a letter to The Guardian backing the 'stay' campaign in the UK's in/out vote on EU membership.

The movie directors named include Danny Boyle, Mike Leigh and Richard Curtis, along with writers including spy author John le Carre.

Film actors include Benedict Cumberbatch, Bill Nighy, Dame Kristin Scott Thomas, Helena Bonham Carter, Jude Law, Juliet Stevenson and Keira Knightley.

Three knights of the screen - Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir John Hurt and Sir Patrick Stewart - are named, along with comedians Eddie Izzard, Jo Brand and Steve Coogan, and the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

The artists declare: "From the smallest gallery to the biggest blockbuster, many of us have worked on projects that would never have happened without vital EU funding or by collaborating across borders.

"Britain is not just stronger in Europe, it is more imaginative and more creative, and our global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away.

"Leaving Europe would be a leap into the unknown for millions of people across the UK who work in the creative industries, and for the millions more at home and abroad who benefit from the growth and vibrancy of Britain's cultural sector.

"From the Bard to Bowie, British creativity inspires and influences the rest of the world. We believe that being part of the EU bolsters Britain's leading role on the world stage.

"Let's not become an outsider shouting from the wings."

The Otherside

Veteran movie star Sir Michael Caine was praised by UKIP leader Nigel Farage earlier this year when he hit out at Brussels' "faceless civil servants". 

Former footballer Sol Campbell, who played for England, Spurs and Arsenal, has said he backs Brexit because freedom of movement rules mean young British players are "crowded out".

He said: "If we want to see more English stars like Harry Kane rise through the ranks we should take back control - and Vote Leave."

Meanwhile, Downtown Abbey creator and Tory peer Julian Fellowes has called for Britain to cut ties with the "anti-democratic" EU.