Thandie Newton: “I can’t work” in the UK – period dramas make it “slim pickings for people of colour”

The Line of Duty star says she wouldn't get a part in Victoria or Call the Midwife


Thandie Newton – star of Westworld and the upcoming series of Line of Duty – has said the number of UK costume dramas has led to “slim pickings for people of colour”.


“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,” the Bafta-winning actress told the Sunday Times Magazine. “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 stuff about the Royal Family, stuff from the past, which is understandable, but it just makes it slim pickings for people of colour.”

Newton also went on to explain her battle with sexism in the industry, citing the time when an unnamed producer told her she would be topless in a scene because it would get “ratings”.

“I’m talented at what I do, but I’ve had to struggle against racism and sexism,” Newton said. “But I’m glad of it, in a way, that I survived and overcame.”

Fortunately, Newton will be on UK screens very soon in BBC corrupt cop drama Line of Duty. She plays Detective Chief Inspector Roz Huntley, who finds herself in the sights of the AC-12 anti-corruption force.


Line of Duty series four starts 9pm Sunday BBC1