Idris Elba to receive Bafta TV special award for championing diversity

·2-min read
Host Idris Elba on stage during the Best FIFA Football Awards 2017 at the Palladium Theatre, London.
Idris Elba will receive the Bafta TV special award at the virtual 2020 ceremony. (PA)

Idris Elba is to honoured with the Bafta special award for television for his services to entertainment as well as championing diversity and new talent.

The Luther star will be presented with the award at the virtual Bafta TV ceremony on July 31st. The usual awards event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Elba, 47, said: “It's been a mission of mine to provide opportunity and access to emerging talent from diverse backgrounds in this industry, which is the same opportunity I received many years ago from open-minded and diversity conscious casting.

"I thank Bafta for recognising myself and others who are dedicated to the same cause, as these are all necessary steps towards helping to shift the awareness and understanding of the diversity gap in entertainment."

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Actor Idris Elba poses for photographers at a special screening of Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, in a central London cinema, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
Idris Elba has starred in Hollywood movies including 'Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw'. (AP)

Previous recipients of the award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts include Clare Balding, Cilla Black, Sir Lenny Henry and commentator John Motson.

London-born Elba attended the National Youth Music Theatre as a child, thanks to a grant from the Prince's Trust. He began his acting career on British TV doing various extra work, including murder reconstructions on Crimewatch.

Elba decided to move to America where he was cast in 2002 as drug dealer Stringer Bell in critically acclaimed crime drama The Wire, which catapulted him to fame.

In 2009 he signed a deal to star as the eponymous police detective in BBC crime drama Luther, which has been successful around the world, running for five series.

Idris Elba during Idris Elba, Who Portrays Russell Stringer Bell on The Wire, Farewell Party at Mission in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
Idris Elba had his big break as Stringer Bell on US show 'The Wire'. (Getty Images)

Elba has enjoyed continued success both on TV and in Hollywood films.

He is currently starring in semi-autobiographical Sky comedy In the Long Run. Elba created the series based on his own experiences growing up in a black family living on a London council estate in the 1980s.

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Amanda Berry, chief executive of Bafta, halied Elba as, "one of Britain's best known actors in the UK and internationally".

She added: "He is also a driving force for championing diversity, ensuring talented people from all backgrounds achieve their potential. We're delighted to recognise Idris, and his outstanding work, at this year's ceremony."

The TV Baftas will be presented virtually by host Richard Ayoade on BBC One on July 31st at 7pm.