Idris Elba: Luther actor details ‘traumatic’ effect coronavirus had on him ‘It hit me bad’

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Idris Elba has revealed how COVID-19 took its toll on him psychologically. The Luther actor and his wife, Sabrina Dhowre, were among the first famous faces to say they had caught coronavirus.

The mental impact of that on both myself and my wife was pretty traumatic

Idris Elba

The 47-year-old has now told this week’s Radio Times that he is now “fully recovered” and feeling “lucky to be alive and thankful for being able to kick” the virus.

But the BBC star said the experience has affected him mentally.

“I was asymptomatic so I didn’t get the major symptoms everyone else got,” he commented.

However, Idris continued: “Mentally, it hit me very bad, because a lot was unknown about it.


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“I felt very compelled to speak about it, just because it was such an unknown.

“So the mental impact of that on both myself and my wife was pretty traumatic.”

Idris went on: “I needed the lockdown to try to get over it. And it turns out the world actually probably needed the lockdown, too.”

It was on March 16 of this year that they announced that they had both been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The couple tested positive and, during their quarantine period, he noted that he has been suffering from asthma all his life.

Meanwhile, Idris is one of many stars who recently signed an open letter calling on the entertainment industry to invest more in black talent.

But he said he does not agree with censoring past productions.

Comedy show Little Britain, which came under fire because of the use of blackface make-up in some sketches, was recently dropped from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and BritBox.

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“I’m very much a believer in freedom of speech,” he stated.

There should be a ratings system warning viewers that a film or show has outdated, insulting viewpoints, he said.

While not referring to a specific programme, Idris said: “To mock the truth, you have to know the truth. But to censor racist themes within a show, to pull it… I think viewers should know that people made shows like this.

“Commissioners and archive-holders pulling things they think are exceptionally tone-deaf at this time – fair enough and good for you.”

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Idris added: “But I think, moving forward, people should know that freedom of speech is accepted, but the audience should know what they’re getting into.

“I don’t believe in censorship. I believe that we should be allowed to say what we want to say. Because, after all, we’re story-makers.”

The In The Long Run actor said boosting diversity needs a change in attitude.

Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times – out now.

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