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Idris Elba: Coronavirus had a ‘traumatic’ impact on me mentally

Idris Elba has spoken candidly about the ‘traumatic’ psychological impact of coronavirus.

Alongside his wife Sabrina Dhowre, the 47-year-old actor was among the first few famous faces to be tested positive for the deadly disease.

However, the star has since made a full recovery, adding he was “lucky to be alive and thankful for being able to kick” coronavirus.

Describing his experience with the disease, Elba explained that is was coronavirus’s unknown nature which had an effect on his mental well-being.

Idris Elba has spoken out about his experience of coronavirus  (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

“I was asymptomatic so I didn’t get the major symptoms everyone else got,” he told Radio Times.

“Mentally, it hit me very bad, because a lot was unknown about it.

“I felt very compelled to speak about it, just because it was such an unknown.

Both Ideis and his wife Sabrina contracted Covid-19(Getty Images)

“So the mental impact of that on both myself and my wife was pretty traumatic.”

He added that the worldwide lockdown, that was implemented by many countries throughout March, helped him come to terms with the illness and recover.

“I needed the lockdown to try to get over it,” Elba said. “And it turns out the world actually probably needed the lockdown, too.”

Top politicians, sportspeople and entertainers of all ages have all been affected by the virus, with singer Pink, magician Dynamo and actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson all describing their experiences with Covid-19.

Elba also spoke out about the need for more black artists, actors, writers and producers in television, and was one of the actors who signed an open letter which called upon the entertainment industry to invest more in black talent.

However, he added he opposed the censorship of past productions, with his comments coming after a number of comedy shows including Little Britain, The Mighty Boosh and The League of Gentlemen being pulled from streaming platforms for their use of blackface.

“I’m very much a believer in freedom of speech,” he said. “To mock the truth, you have to know the truth. But to censor racist themes within a show, to pull it … I think viewers should know that people made shows like this.”

Little Britain has since been pulled from several streaming platforms (HBO)

Elba continued: “Commissioners and archive-holders pulling things they think are exceptionally tone-deaf at this time – fair enough and good for you.

“But I think, moving forward, people should know that freedom of speech is accepted, but the audience should know what they’re getting into.

“I don’t believe in censorship. I believe that we should be allowed to say what we want to say. Because, after all, we’re story-makers.”

The Turn Up Charlie actor added that while financial investment would aid to better diversity on screen, a fundamental change in attitude is what was vital in order to make that happen.

“It’s a shift in attitude, in perspective, in tolerance,” Elba said. “And you can’t put an amount on that.”

Read the full interview in Radio Times magazine, out now

Additional reporting by PA


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