31/01/2012 12:14 GMT

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

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."