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Harewood: Better black roles in US

Published 31/01/2012

David Harewood thinks there are better black roles in the US
David Harewood thinks there are better black roles in the US

David Harewood has criticised the lack of opportunities for young black actors in the UK and has advised them to consider heading to the US.

The star - who was recently awarded an MBE - said there was a lack of "authoritative, strong black characters" for British actors.

Birmingham-born David blamed the British TV industry for its lack of risk-taking and said it was less "ambitious" than its US counterpart.

The 46-year-old made his comments at the launch of Homeland, a new US drama series in which he stars that is shortly to be screened by Channel 4.

He plays the director of a CIA counter-terrorism team in the Golden Globe-winning thriller, also starring fellow Brit Damian Lewis, as well as Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin.

He said: "Unfortunately there really aren't that many roles for authoritative, strong, black characters in this country. We just don't write those characters, that's a fact."

David said British actor Idris Elba - who found fame in Baltimore-based The Wire - had talked to him about the greater opportunities offered across the Atlantic.

He said: "I can remember talking to Idris years ago about these frustrations and he told me 'I'm going to America', and I kind of thought, 'What are you doing that for?'.

He went on: "I don't want to trash this place, but I do think there is a certain lack of ambition in terms of telling a global story.

"It's quite parochial sometimes. I don't think it's as ambitious. When you're sitting down watching the best of American TV, it is risk-taking."

Press Association

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