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Idris Elba - Winner's Acceptance Speech, Special Award, Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards in 2020

31 July 2020

Winner's acceptance speech by Idris Elba in the Special Award category

IDRIS ELBA:  Thank you.  Thank you.  First of all, I just want to say thank you to BAFTA for giving me this opportunity and finally recognising - I’m joking.  I’m very proud.  I just want to start by thanking my mum and dad, Winston and Eve, for giving me life.  Without that, I wouldn’t be here and also my children, RIaz, Izzy and Winston, to my beautiful wife Sabrina.  Thank you guys.  I couldn’t live without you.  Listen, I, when I first got this award, I was like wow, it’s a bit early for a lifetime achievement award.  I was wrong.  It’s a special award and it is special and I appreciate it.  I know that I don’t believe that I’m very special.  I believe that what I’ve been given is an opportunity and what I’ve done is taken my opportunity and handed it backwards, and handed it to other people that need that opportunity.  That is something that, you know what?  I didn’t plan to do.  It’s just a natural feeling.  It’s a natural reaction.  I feel very grounded coming from East London where I’m - was born and raised and I know that, you know, in East London, we treat people, we try to treat people with respect because everyone comes from the same cloth and in the world of film and television, nothing is different in that sense.  In other words, no-one is different so me giving an opportunity to someone else is just part of my inheritance, part of my upbringing.  I’m hoping that from this point on in this world, in this junction that everyone sees that you can’t make it without anyone else, that we all think about paying it backwards to the person behind you so they get an opportunity.  That’s definitely why I think I’ve got this award.  One day, I might get an acting award but until that day, I’m going to make more opportunity for more actors, more writers and more people to come and speak and tell their story.  Thanks so much.  I appreciate it.