Belfast Telegraph

'Long way to go for black actors'

Hustle star Adrian Lester has said there is still a long way to go for black actors working in Britain.

The star - the suave Mickey Stone in the BBC One show - told the Radio Times that there had been improvements since he left drama school. But he said the situation was still far from perfect.

The 43-year-old added: "As an actor you're constantly trying to guess how valuable you are to the industry. If you're a woman you'll put certain negative things against that, be it age or weight."

He continued: "As a black actor you do the same - you'll only see yourself travelling as far as people like you have travelled. And if no-one like you is doing what you're doing it's very hard for you to see yourself going further, and you get frustrated."

He added: "I left Rada in '89. Apartheid was still going, it was a very different world. When people leave drama school now saying, 'It's frustrating, I want to change things,' I think, 'Yeah - but, mate, we've done a hell of a lot of work!' We've got a long way to go, but it's getting better."

In a separate interview in the magazine, Harrow-educated Sherlock Holmes star Benedict Cumberbatch said he had faced "class typing" during his career.

"I was brought up in a world of privilege. It can ostracise you from normal codes of conduct in society.

"Being a posh actor in England, you can't escape class-typing, from whatever side you look at it. I realised quite early on that, although I wasn't trying to make a career speciality of it, I was playing slightly asexual, sociopathic intellectuals," he said.

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