Entertainment & Arts

Cush Jumbo: British TV 'doesn't represent country we live in'

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Media captionCush Jumbo says she has missed out on roles because her skin colour

Cush Jumbo, best known for appearing in US series The Good Wife, has called for more ethnic diversity on British TV.

The London-born actress told BBC Radio 5 live UK television "doesn't represent the country we live in".

She added the US has "huge race problems", but said she could find more work there because there were "more options for you to try".

"I would jump at the chance for there to be more parts for me here," she said, referring to the UK.

"It's not that I think [producers and casting directors] are racist or don't like me," she said.

"It's that we have an idea in our heads here of representation on TV, and it doesn't represent the country we live in, and it should."

The 30-year old revealed she had been told her mixed race background made her unsuitable for several roles she had auditioned for on British TV shows.

'Top down' approach

She said: "You get feedback from auditions - and they might say something along the lines of, 'We're only casting fully black or fully white people for this particular project, and because you're mixed [race] that doesn't work.'

"Or I've had, 'You were the absolute best person for the part but you don't fit with the family shade-wise.'"

The actress, whose mother is British and father Nigerian, is well known for her portrayal of lawyer Lucca Quinn in US drama The Good Wife.

She called for change in the UK television industry and referred to the "Oscars So White" movement, which saw several actors boycott the Academy Awards earlier this year in protest over the lack of nominees from ethnic minorities.

"I think we have to start from the top down," Jumbo said.

"If our producers and the people sitting on our boards and trusts and the people writing don't have different experiences, then of course the work that drips down is just of one or two or three experiences... not the experience of anybody else.

"It's a little bit like what happened with the Oscars where they made some huge changes very quickly because they realised they had to."

Nearly 700 entertainment figures have now been invited to become Academy members, with a focus on women and ethnic minorities.


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