Magazine article Screen International

Thandie Newton: Costume Dramas Limit Roles for Black Actors in UK

Magazine article Screen International

Thandie Newton: Costume Dramas Limit Roles for Black Actors in UK

Article excerpt

Thandie Newton said she can't get roles in Britain because there are so few parts for black actors in historical dramas like Downton Abbey or Call The Midwife.

The Westworld star told The Sunday Times: "I love being here, but I can't work, because I can't do Downton Abbey, can't be in Victoria, can't be in Call The Midwife - well, I could, but I don't want to play someone who's being racially abused."

"I'm not interested in that, don't want to do it... there just seems to be a desire for stuffabout the Royal Family, stufffrom the past, which is understandable, but it just makes it slim pickings for people of colour."

Newton, set to star in Line Of Duty on BBC One and the upcoming Han Solo Star Wars spin-off, is not the first actor to criticise British costume dramas for excluding black actors.

David Oyelowo told the The Radio Times in 2015: "We make period dramas here, but there are almost never black people in them, even though we've been on these shores for hundreds of years," he said.

"There's a string of black British actors passing through where I live now in LA. We don't have Downton Abbey, or Call the Midwife, or Peaky Blinders, or the 50th iteration of Pride and Prejudice.

"We're not in those. And it's frustrating, because it doesn't have to be that way. …

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