09/01/2012 10:40 GMT

Idris Elba Producing Wrestling Show

Idris Elba has traded The Wire for the ring after signing up to produce a show about wrestling.

The actor, best known for playing The Wire's Stringer Bell, is working behind the scenes on upcoming programme Walk Like A Panther, about wrestlers in the 1970s and '80s.

But Elba admits he has no plans to appear in the six-part series, which stars This Is England's Stephen Graham and Kasabian rocker Tom Meighan.

He says: "I've come on board as an executive producer to take the Panthers to the next level. These boys are like family to me, so it's an honour."

And while he may not be appearing in front of the camera on the wrestling show, Elba is heavily rumoured to be in talks to play former South African leader Nelson Mandela in a new biopic.

Terrence Howard and Morgan Freeman have previously both played the humanitarian hero in Winnie and Invictus, respectively.