Noel Clarke says he had ‘no choice’ but to write his own roles as he’d never land the jobs he wanted

Changing the narrative: Noel Clarke, 45, has revealed he had 'no choice' but to write his own acting roles after realising he'd never be offered the jobs he wanted (pictured in Bulletproof)

Noel Clarke says he had ‘no choice’ but to write his own roles after realising he’d never land the jobs he wanted as a black actor – after discussing historic BAFTAs win amid diversity row

Noel Clarke has revealed that he had ‘no choice’ but to write his own acting roles after realising he’d never be offered the jobs he wanted.

The Kidulthood star, 45, who recently made history by receiving a BAFTA for Outstanding Contribution for British Cinema, told Radio Times he quickly learned that as a black actor he would never get a ‘fair share’ of parts.

Noel added that he also feels a ‘spasm of guilt’ in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement has sparked vows by the TV and film industry to improve diversity, but he still feels like his work hasn’t been deemed ‘worthy.’ 

Changing the narrative: Noel Clarke, 45, has revealed he had ‘no choice’ but to write his own acting roles after realising he’d never be offered the jobs he wanted (pictured in Bulletproof)

Noel told the publication that he began penning his own roles after vowing to improve the opportunities for black actors in his industry.

He said: ‘I had no choice. I learnt and understood very quickly that I wasn’t going to get the jobs I wanted to get, for whatever reason… 

‘We just weren’t getting a fair shake of the stick other than playing ”Criminal No 2”, so I decided I would write myself roles.’ 

Important: The Kidulthood star recently made history by receiving a BAFTA for Outstanding Contribution for British Cinema

Important: The Kidulthood star recently made history by receiving a BAFTA for Outstanding Contribution for British Cinema

Noel recently accepted his BAFTA Award after being praised for his TV show Bulletproof and the film series Kidulthood which sees black working class characters take centre stage. 

The former Doctor Who star’s prize came after he received the Rising Star Award in 2009. 

Despite his huge success, with his ITV series Viewpoint set to begin later this month, Noel said he still feels like an outsider in the industry.

He added: ‘This is about class. My films aren’t [deemed] worthy. They’re written, directed and acted by working-class people and they’re about working-class people… For 20 years, I’ve been made to feel like I do not belong. 

‘The business has always tried to say I don’t belong and push me out. I won’t sit here and lay blame on people, because it’s here’ – at this point he taps his head – ‘but that’s part of what fuels me.’

Read the full interview with Noel in the latest issue of Radio Times. 

Changing: Noel added that he also feels a 'spasm of guilt' in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement has sparked vows by the TV and film industry to improve diversity

Changing: Noel added that he also feels a ‘spasm of guilt’ in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement has sparked vows by the TV and film industry to improve diversity

Acclaimed: From 2006-2016 Noel wrote, directed and starred in the acclaimed trilogy of films Kidulthood, Adulthood and Brotherhood, and has also penned the series Bulletproof (pictured)

Acclaimed: From 2006-2016 Noel wrote, directed and starred in the acclaimed trilogy of films Kidulthood, Adulthood and Brotherhood, and has also penned the series Bulletproof (pictured)

Noel also detailed the lonely experience of filming Viewpoint in Manchester, with he and much of the show’s cast placed in a bubble with stringent testing measures due to the Covid pandemic. 

From 2006-2016 Noel wrote, directed and starred in the acclaimed trilogy of films Kidulthood, Adulthood and Brotherhood. 

Out now: Read the full interview with Noel in the latest issue of Radio Times

Out now: Read the full interview with Noel in the latest issue of Radio Times

The well-received movies follow a group of teenagers as they navigate life outside the law in Ladbroke Grove, West London. 

Noel told Interview magazine: ‘I grew up in Ladbroke Grove… which sounds really glamorous now, but at the time it wasn’t very glamorous.’ 

‘In the ’60s and late ’50s, it was a place where they shoved a lot of the black people that were coming over.’ 

And, in 2007, Noel set up his own production company Unstoppable Entertainment to try and promote more diversity in the film and TV industry. 

He started the venture with his fellow actor Jason Maza, 33, who he later collaborated with on the next series he wrote – Bulletproof, which starred himself and Ashley Walters.   

The pair originally struggled to get the show commissioned and Noel told Sky News at the time he didn’t ‘think the country was ready’ for their positive depiction of two black lead characters. 

Making history: Noel accepted his BAFTA Award earlier this month after being praised for his wors which have seen black working class characters take centre stage

Making history: Noel accepted his BAFTA Award earlier this month after being praised for his wors which have seen black working class characters take centre stage

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