While speaking at an event about the lack of multiculturalism in the TV industry, Idris Elba spoke about how thanks to the Prince’s Trust he got his first break in the creative industry.
He said: “I finally got my first break in the creative industries from the Prince’s Trust. Yes, good old Prince Charles came in there.”
He was helped in getting work in theatre and from there into TV and film.
“The Prince’s Trust subsidised one of my first jobs with the National Music Youth Theatre. They gave me £1,500, because my parents didn’t have enough money.
“There were hardly any black kids, because none of us could afford it.
“And although back then I didn’t get to meet Prince Charles, we had one thing in common. We both fell into the same line of work as our parents did.
“It’s true. My dad worked in a car factory, so before I could get any work as an actor, I ended up doing night shifts at Dagenham.”
The actor who is known for his roles in The Wire and Luther spoke to the packed committee room in Westminster about the importance of the creative industries to the British economy calling for “imagination” and “diversity of thought”.
He spoke on everything from skin colour, age, gender, sexual preference, disability and social background in a 30-minute speech full of witty remarks.
Elba condemned the lack of multiculturalism in the TV industry saying “there is more diversity in Ford Dagenham”.
The 43-year-old actor said: “the Britain I come from is the most successful, diverse, multicultural country on the earth”, but you “wouldn’t know it if you turned on the TV”.
Elba went on to add: “I’m a product of my imagination.
“Made in Hackney. Made in Newham. Made in Dagenham. But above all, I was made in my mind: I’m seeing it, thinking it, doing it.”