Idris Elba to Star in Brit Comedy Based on His Early Days

'The Wire' dials it back a few decades with a new series on his upbringing in working class London

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Idris Elba, fresh off a surprise marriage proposal at a film screening, is taking his talents back to the British small screen this spring when he stars in a story based on his own childhood in a UK-produced comedy called In the Long Run. 

We might be used to the Luther and The Wire star playing sexier roles, but Elba will be taking a blast to the past to portray Walter Easmon, a family man in 1980s London; a character and storyline that are loosely based on his childhood, according to Variety.

The story follows the life of Walter, who works in a local factory alongside friend and neighbor Bagpipes, who is played by British comedian Bill Bailey. The ensemble cast also includes veteran Black UK actors Jimmy Akingbola of the CW’s Arrow, and Madeline Appiah.

Elba, 45, the only child of African immigrant parents, grew up during the 80s in Hackney and Newham, London. He began acting as a teenager but his upbringing, he told Radio Times in 2011, was great a backdrop for his future.

“I stayed out of trouble, on the straight and narrow. My parents were really protective. They wouldn’t let me out too much, didn’t let me into that space,” Elba said. “They were rules upon rules – ‘Big people are talking, you shouldn’t be speaking’. Or, ‘You can’t do that, you don’t wanna be like them boys.’ ”

After the Proposal

News about the new show comes after, Elba’s proposal to Sabrina Dhowre a few weeks ago at a screening for his new film, Yardie at the Rio Cinema in Dalston, London.

Elba’s production company, Green Door, is making the series with Sprout Pictures. The show is set to run on Sky UK, England’s largest digital subscription television company.

Elba will executive produce the show along and Cecile Emeke (“Insecure”) will direct. The series premieres on SkyOne in the U.K., on Mar. 29.