Idris Elba: At school in London everyone wanted to fight me

Luther star Idris Elba has said that “everyone wanted to fight” him when he was growing up in London.

As a child Elba moved from Hackney to Canning Town and joined Trinity Boys School, where he discovered his love for drama, but also found that the students wanted to fight with him.

Speaking to Peter Crouch and Chris Stark on That Peter Crouch Podcast, he said: “I got to school. I was a big lad. It’s a boy’s school.

World premiere of Luther: The Fallen Sun – London
Idris Elba and wife Sabrina Dhowre Elba arriving at the World premiere of Luther: The Fallen Sun (PA)

“Everyone wanted to fight me, or race me or wanted me on their side.

“I played a lot of football, I loved it.”

At school, Elba found that he was not very academically minded, but began to realise that he had a talent for acting.

“Drama was the sort of classroom that I didn’t have to fight or challenge everyone, I just loved drama”, he said.

It was a drama school teacher who pushed the actor into considering a career in the arts.

Elba explained: “I was 12, by the time I was 15 she was like, ‘I really think you should take this into a career’ and at that junction I liked school but I was not an academic.

“I think I passed with maybe an A in drama, a B in Biology and a D in maths, you know, I wasn’t like academic but ultimately she was like, ‘if you really want to take the acting seriously I can help you’ and she did.”

He went on: “I played basketball, football, cricket, hockey, rugby, judo and I was alright at all of it but drama was a bit of a left field for me.”

Elba’s acting career spans almost three decades, with credits in Luther, The Wire, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Avengers: Infinity War, Beasts Of No Nation and Molly’s Game.

His newest acting role is in Apple TV + series Hijack which follows Elba’s character Sam Nelson who finds himself on a seven-hour flight from Dubai to London that has been hijacked.