Idris Elba: Racism has more of an impact now

Speaking about how they have tackled racial issues in the show The i Paper, Elba said: 'We take it on as it was'.

Idris Elba. Picture: Getty Images North America/AFP.

LONDON - Idris Elba says racism has more of an "impact" now than when he was growing up.

The Luther star moved from Hackney to London's white-working class area of Canning Town in the 80s as a teenager and has documented the period in his life for Sky 1 comedy In The Long Run, which is based lightly around his late real-life father Winston from Sierra Leone.

Speaking about how they have tackled racial issues in the show The i Paper, Elba - who has daughter Isan, 15, and son Winston, three, from past relationships - said: "We take it on as it was.

"Back then people would say all sorts of offensive things, but to be honest be less offended. So racism seemed to have less of an impact. You'd get someone say: 'You black bastard', and it wasn't like there was going to be a riot. We're quite honest about that."

Whilst Idris - who takes on the role of his father who is called Winston in the show as well - says they were careful not to offend, they weren't "overly sensitive" to allow the comedy element.

He explained: "We don't take it lightly. We consider every single racial slur or racist storyline really seriously in the show - but we don't overcook it, we're not overly sensitive about it.

"And I'll stand by that ... because that's what it was like back then."

Idris previously revealed he used to get eggs thrown at him because he is black.

The Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom actor and his classmates were targeted by racists as they got on the bus outside their east London school.

He recalled: "My school, Trinity, was just off the Barking Road, which would take all the National Front supporters to the football at West Ham. They'd come past our school, and if we got on that bus on a game day ... mate, if you were Indian or black you were getting it. Eggs thrown at you, the whole thing."

Idris had never experienced "racial tension" growing up until his family moved to Canning Town.

He said: "I'd been shielded from racial tension, but when we moved I felt it full whack. It was a National Front area and there were no black people. I remember walking down the street and being called a black. No one talked like that in Hackney."