'The Pact' actor Rakie Ayola challenges the term 'woke' on 'BBC Breakfast'

Watch: Actor Rakie Ayola says people shouldn’t call The Pact family ‘woke’

The Pact actor Rakie Ayola has challenged the definition of the term 'woke', claiming some people who use the word daren't explain what they actually mean.

The Welsh actor – also known for her roles in Holby City, Doctor Who and Noughts and Crosses – appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss the second series of BBC drama, where she was asked what her response would be to those who claimed the show portrayed a "woke version" of a Welsh family.

Ayola, 54, said: “If anybody wants to say that to me, what I would say first is explain what you mean by ‘woke’ and then we can have the conversation.

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"If you can’t explain it, don’t hand me that word. Don’t use a word you cannot describe. Because you don’t know what you mean.

Rakie Ayola attends the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2021 at Television Centre on June 06, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Rakie Ayola said people who use the word 'woke' need to be able to explain what they mean by it. (Getty Images)

"Or maybe you know exactly what you mean and you’re afraid to say what you mean, so let’s have that conversation… You daren’t, do you know what I mean?”

Ayola went on: “Sit there and tell me what you mean by ‘woke’ and then we can talk about whether this show is ‘woke’ or not. Because then I will introduce you to a family just like this one.

Rakie Ayola stars in Welsh drama The Pact. (BBC)
Rakie Ayola stars in Welsh thriller The Pact. (BBC)

“So when you say they don’t exist when they clearly do, are you saying that they’re not allowed to exist? What do you mean by that?

“Let’s have a proper conversation. Don’t throw words around willy nilly when you’re not afraid to say exactly what you mean. If you don’t know, please be quiet because you’re incredibly boring.”

Presenter Victoria Fritz had said, "I can see you rolling your eyes" as she asked the question.

But the actor has now tweeted to say how pleased she was to have been given the opportunity to voice her views on 'wokism' on national TV.

She said: "Thanks for the question Victoria @BBCBreakfast. No apology wanted or needed. Believe me, if I felt differently you'd know. A loaded question maybe, but I got to say on national tv what I've been saying to @adamsmet66 in our kitchen for months. I'm glad it's struck a chord."

And added: "Can we please be honest about the fact that some people *will* say stuff about #ThePact S2 solely because of its casting. It's already started. Not admitting this doesn't silence them. I choose to question.

"It works for me. It's the same impulse that compels me to peer into the toilet bowl after a bowel movement. I like to know exactly what kind of s**t I'm dealing with. It doesn't make it smell sweeter, but the regularity of its appearance let's me know I'm doing something right."

Ayola stars as social worker Christine Rees in series two of thriller The Pact which has just begun on BBC One. Her family is thrown into disarray when they are contacted by someone claiming to be her long lost son.

Rakie Ayola arrives at the British Academy Television Craft Awards at the Dorchester Hotel in West London.   (Photo by Matt Crossick - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Rakie Ayola is proud of her Welsh background. (Getty Images)

The actor was born in Wales and grew up in Cardiff. She began her career performing with the National Youth Theatre of Wales and starred in Welsh soap opera Tiger Bay in the 90s.

Read more: Anne Robinson 'fed up' of 'woke' terms mangling English language

Ayola – who has appeared in Black Mirror, Waking The Dead and Shetland – has two daughters with actor husband Adam Smethurst.