Colin Firth has said his success as an actor has "done wonders" for his relationship with his dad because his father always presumed performing was an excuse to shun education and hard work.

The Oscar nominee said his dad was dubious about him embarking on an acting career, and urged him to get a proper education so he could have a back-up plan if his dreams crumbled.

“And all those ideas of security - my father was a university lecturer - his whole generation were being made redundant when he was about 55,” he told CNN’s Piers Morgan. “I'm struck by memories of my father saying, 'You should get a degree, and that training and have that (acting) as a back up'.

“It's done wonders for my relationship with him, because he didn't know any actors, he didn't know the world of cinema and theatre very much so he saw my acting dreams as a way, quite rightly, of a way of getting out of maths or as having an excuse to be bad at that stuff.

“But when I actually got a job, he was thrilled - not just because I was successful, but because I was applying myself, I was happy, this was work now, not just fantasy.”