Coronation Street's Trevor Michael Georges speaks on racism he experienced as a young actor

Sam Warner
·4-min read
Photo credit: Joseph Scanlon - ITV
Photo credit: Joseph Scanlon - ITV

From Digital Spy

This article contains details of racism that some readers may find distressing.

Coronation Street star Trevor Michael Georges has opened up about the racism he experienced while working as a young actor.

Recent scenes on the ITV soap have depicted the Bailey family's experience of racism, such as Michael being stopped on the street by a police officer and Grace falsely accused and held for shoplifting.

Georges, who has played Ed on the soap since 2019, has now reflected on the importance of as a Black actor of showing racism on screen.

"It's always really, really important as *part* of what I am as an actor, because ironically just carrying on as a working straight actor is a step forward as a Black person in itself," he told Digital Spy and other media. "It's important to just fulfil a regular function in society like everyone else.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Related: Coronation Street star Ryan Russell praises the show's plans for a long-running racism story

"That aside, then going to the issue of colour, the spirit of Black Lives Matter began around 60 years ago. It might not have had that label, but when I was at school, getting into theatre, I was called into The Royal Court to join in a play, playing a character who was the first Black policeman in this country. This would be around 82/81 at The Royal Court.

"Even right back then, it was very, very clear that there was a huge problem going on," Georges continued. "I grew up in Southall, I experienced all the race riots and all the abuse we received from the National Front in many kinds of ways.

Photo credit: Joseph Scanlon - ITV
Photo credit: Joseph Scanlon - ITV

Related: Coronation Street star Trevor Michael Georges hints at downward spiral for Ed in Michael storyline

"It was a norm during my upbringing that most of us accepted, because it didn't feel like our country, and it's taken a long time, a lot longer than settling into Coronation Street, to actually feel like 'Yeah, this is my country, not just because I've got a passport and a birth certificate but I do feel I can go into certain places.'

"But the level of racism has diminished to the point that I still feel very positive today, despite some of the things that were going on."

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

The star went on to recall one particular experience while working as the only Black actor in the Young National Trust Theatre for one of his first jobs.

"It was a theatre put together by the National Trust and we performed for school kids on National Trust sites like that huge estate in Dunham Massey, which is phenomenal," Georges explained.

"I was the only Black actor in that company, who had the run of the entire estate, so we could use the building how we wanted to perform this show for the kids, which moved all the way through the building and used all the historic parts of the building to help tell the story.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

"And then one day, the director came in absolutely fuming to say the Women's Institute contingent at this particular venue had complained that a Black person was being allowed the run of the house.

"Which was an interesting complaint, it did take my breath away. The rest of the company were appalled and the director said 'Wait till I tell them that you're a member of Glyndebourne Opera's chorus'. I said 'Why do I need a white seal of approval just to come in here and do my job?'"

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Related: Coronation Street star Trevor Michael Georges rushes to help homeless man injured by tram

He continued: "That was two sides of the kind of racism that was going on, there was racism not just from the same demographic as me, or the same class as me or the same town as me, but at all levels of society going on.

"And there was also this accidental patronising where people wanted to show that they were all for the Black class but still missing the point accidentally through wanting to help too much. That doesn't go on so much today because people are much more educated about many more aspects of racism."

Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on ITV.

For more information on how you can support Black Lives Matter, please visit its official website or donate here. Readers can also donate to the UK anti-discrimination group Stand Up To Racism, and the Unite Families & Friends Campaign, which supports those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody.

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