Idris Elba says Only Fools and Horses star inspired him to act

Dan Seddon
·2-min read
Photo credit: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images
Photo credit: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Luther, The Suicide Squad and The Wire fans have one man to thank for Idris Elba, and his name is Paul Barber.

In a recent interview for The Prince's Trust to celebrate Black History Month, alumnus-turned-ambassador Elba was asked who his role model was as a youngster.

If you've seen Only Fools and Horses, you'll know just how special Barber's talent was, as he played Del Boy's sidekick Denzil Tulser.

Photo credit: Philippe Hays - Rex
Photo credit: Philippe Hays - Rex

Related: Idris Elba confirms Luther movie is happening

Recalling the "big moment" Barber walked into his high school, Elba explained: "I was in my drama class, I loved drama class. It was a place of expression, I enjoyed being there, I enjoyed the sort of creative freedom. And this professional actor came in.

"His name was Paul Barber. He came in and sat amongst us and you know, we recognised him from TV and it was a big moment."

"I come from East London, it was a poor little neighbourhood and this big actor was in our midst," he continued. "You could touch him, he was right there."

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Barber also boasts credits in The Full Monty and Terry Pratchett adaptation Going Postal.

Idris further added: "He basically sat in our class, talked to us about his profession and who he was, and I just remember thinking 'wow man'. He didn't know it but he really, really inspired me to become an actor."

There you have it.

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