'Homeland' Star David Harewood Tells Young Black Actors To 'Go To America'

31/01/2012 17:14 GMT

Homeland star David Harewood has criticised the lack of opportunities for young black actors in the UK and advised them to head Stateside to find stardom.

Speaking at a screening for the hit Golden Globe-winning US espionage thriller series, in which he stars as the Director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center David Estes alongside Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, he said: "For me there really aren't that many roles for strong authoritative black characters in this country. We just don't like those characters, that's a fact, so many of my contemporaries have gone to America."

The British actor, who was recently awarded an MBE, continued: "I can remember talking to Idris Elba years ago about his frustrations and he told me 'I'm going to America' and I thought 'what are you doing that for?' but look at him now - the guy's a huge star, so he made the right decision.

READ: Damian Lewis talks Homeland torture scenes.

"Now he comes back and the BBC give him Luther. He cracked it, and now he can come back and he's a national treasure. I knew I kind of needed to do it, I simply wouldn't have been given a role that big with that much authority here in the UK."

Harewood added: "I would encourage young black actors to get to America, they do seem to embrace a more diverse set."