Idris Elba has said he is proud of his first on-screen role in Crimewatch – unlike many other actors who do not like to admit they appeared in the show.

The Luther actor will receive a Bafta special award at Friday night’s TV event, where winners will accept their gongs virtually.

The 47-year-old said he was “thankful for the job” when he landed the role of a murderer in a Crimewatch reconstruction scene in the 1990s.

“It sounds weird but, at the time, getting a job on Crimewatch was the first rung on the ladder,” The Wire star said.

“A lot of actors don’t like to admit they did Crimewatch but I’m not embarrassed by it.”

He said his favourite role was playing Nelson Mandela in 2013 film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.

“That brings a lump to my throat. It was an honour to portray him,” he said.

“I dedicated that role to my dad. He reminded me of Mandela, with his big white hair and infectious smile.”

Elba has recovered from coronavirus and recently said it had a “traumatic” effect on him psychologically.

He has now told Bafta: “I do feel like I dodged a bullet – I’m very thankful to be alive.”

– The Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards air on BBC One at 7pm on Friday.