PLACING more emphasis on art and drama in Britain’s schools would help heal the divisions caused by Brexit, one of the country’s top dramatists has said. 

James Graham – who penned the hit Channel 4 drama Brexit: The Uncivil War, starring Benedict Cumberbatch – insisted the disappearance of the arts from schools is a “national scandal”. 

He made the comments during an interview with Alastair Campbell at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. 

Mr Graham said: “It’s a national scandal that the country that hosts the Edinburgh Festival, and of Shakespeare and JK Rowling – that we are letting the arts disappear so silently from our schools.

“But it is really disappearing, and it should be the thing that concerns us the most.”

He suggested teaching drama to schoolchildren would help build bridges across political divides. 

He said: “The multitude of problems that led to Brexit and come out of Brexit are many.

“But one is the social toxicity and the tribalism and lack of empathy and how we talk to one another, and how it’s become not just fashionable, but necessary to box yourself in and not engage with people across the divide. 

“I think drama is – and I’m being really romantic – but I do think that drama and art storytelling is a way through that. 

“You could absolutely input into the national curriculum drama not just as a way of getting confidence and reading the classics, but to use those lessons and that time as a way of engaging with difficult issues, difficult things, to walk in the footsteps of people you wouldn’t normally get a chance to, to think yourself into people’s minds who you disagree with.”

Mr Graham said this could help “crack” the lack of empathy in society and politics. 

He said the UK is “living through a national trauma at the moment”. 

Mr Graham is behind a number of hit plays and TV programmes, including the Channel 4 film Coalition, which focused on the formation of the Cameron-Clegg coalition government following the 2010 general election.

Brexit: The Uncivil War, which depicted the lead-up to the 2016 EU referendum, was broadcast on Channel 4 in January to critical acclaim.

Elsewhere, Mr Campbell, who was Tony Blair’s director of communications in Downing Street, said the Labour Party was in “denial” over its level of success. 

He expressed scepticism over its electoral chances and insisted: “Labour has never, ever won without Scotland. And Scotland has a very, very different politics now.”