Luther star Idris Elba says, ‘I couldn’t be more proud’, as he receives OBE in New Year honour

Luther (opens in new tab) star Idris Elba (opens in new tab) has described his OBE for services to drama as “beyond special”.

“Awards and honours come in all shapes and sizes and all as significant as the other," sais Idris. "But this is beyond special as it comes from Queen and country, and I couldn’t be more proud for receiving this right now. What a year. On me head, son!”

Idris Elba in Luther

Idris Elba in Luther (BBC/Sarah Dunn)


The OBE caps a memorable year for the 43-year-old Londoner, which has seen him receive two Golden Globe nominations for his roles in hit BBC drama Luther and Netflix’s Beasts Of No Nation (opens in new tab).

He has also been the subject of speculation that he is next in line to play James Bond.

Anthony Horowitz, who wrote the latest 007 novel, "Trigger Mortis", was quoted in the Daily Mail as describing Idris as “too street” for Bond.

The author later apologised, writing on Twitter: “I’m really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence. That wasn’t my intention.”

Idris rose to fame for his role as Russell “Stringer” Bell in HBO’s gritty series The Wire (opens in new tab). He received praise for his portrayal of former South African president Nelson Mandela in the 2013 film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (opens in new tab).

Idris – along with David Oyelowo (opens in new tab), David Harewood (opens in new tab), Lenny Henry (opens in new tab) and Meera Syal (opens in new tab) – has spoken out about the representation of ethnic minorities on television.

He told the Press Association earlier this year the UK was “moving in the right direction” regarding diversity in TV roles, but said there is still a lot of work to do.

“People are aware of the issues that are faced. It’s one of these problems that won’t get fixed overnight but I think it’s progressively getting better.

“The BBC and Luther are very supportive of diversity, especially behind and in front of the camera. It’s important to keep trying.”

Acting aside, Idris has a successful music career and is a well-respected DJ. He opened for Madonna (opens in new tab) on her Rebel Heart tour in Germany this year and has performed at Glastonbury.


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