A Western set in Yorkshire? It just works says Jericho star Clarke Peters

The Wire actor talks about starring in ITV's surprising new period drama, and questions why black British actors feel they need to leave for the US to find work

What many people may not know is that he also wrote the hit theatre revue Five Guys Named Moe, which debuted in 1990, or that he was a backing singer for Joan Armatrading and also performed on Heatwave’s disco classic Boogie Nights.

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He first moved to England in 1973 and says he only returned to the US for work in 1999 when he travelled with a production of The Iceman Cometh to Broadway. It was at that point David Simon signed him up to appear in his drama The Corner, which was a forerunner to The Wire.

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While talking about the movement of actors, I ask him whether he agrees with former Homeland star David Harewood’s claim a few years ago that there are better roles available for black British actors in the US than in their own country. Peters says at some point the “huge exodus” of black actors going to America, are going to “wake up and go, ‘You know, this is the same nonsense over here as it is there’.”

He also thinks Britain’s black stories would go down well in in the States. “I know there’s an appetite. African-Americans would love to see what a black life is like in Birmingham. To see what a black life is like in Huddersfield. I think that is just as viable.” Clearly an Anglophile, Peters has homes in London and Baltimore, but I wonder what he thought of Yorkshire?

“When a Yorkshireman says this is God’s country, he is right. I have lived in the south of England in Wiltshire and I thought I had seen some really beautiful country. But Yorkshire is just beautiful.”

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Jericho starts at 9pm on ITV, Thursday 7th January