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Cush Jumbo says she has lost British TV roles because she is mixed-race

Published 04/08/2016

Cush Jumbo attending the House of Fraser Bafta TV Awards 2016
Cush Jumbo attending the House of Fraser Bafta TV Awards 2016

London-born actress and star of US series The Good Wife Cush Jumbo believes British television "doesn't represent the country we live in".

Jumbo, 30, revealed how she had been told that her mixed-race background made her unsuitable for several roles she had auditioned for on British TV.

In an interview with Phil Williams on BBC Radio 5 Live she said: "You get feedback from auditions - and they might say something along the lines of, 'we're only casting fully black or fully white people for this particular project, and because you're mixed (race) that doesn't work'.

"Or I've had, 'you were the absolute best person for the part but you don't fit with the family shade-wise'."

She added: "It's not that I think those people are racist or don't like me, it's that we have an idea in our heads here of ... you know, representation on TV -- and it doesn't represent the country we live in ... and it should.

"I would like it to more. I would jump at the chance for there to be more parts for me here."

The actress, whose mother is British and her father Nigerian, called for change to start at the top.

"I think we have to start from the top down," she explained.

"It's a little bit like what happened with the Oscars where they made some huge changes very quickly because they realised they had to.

"If our producers and the people sitting on our boards and trusts and the people writing don't have different experiences, then of course the work that drips down is just of one or two or three experiences ... not the experience of anybody else."

Having starred as lawyer Lucca Quinn in The Good Wife, Jumbo said America also had "huge race problems" - but said she could find more work across the Atlantic because there were "more options for you to try".

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