Noel Clarke to be honoured at BAFTAs with special prize

Noel Clarke will be given the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema award at next month’s BAFTAs.

The actor, best known for his appearances in Bulletproof, Doctor Who and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, will be given the academy‘s top award at the 2021 ceremony for his “pivotal role in bringing diversity to British screens in front and behind the camera”.

In 2007, Clarke set up his own production company, Unstoppable Entertainment, in an effort to champion diverse voices in films, but has since moved into television too.

The award itself is given out every year in honour of Michael Balcon, who worked at west London’s Ealing Studios, and was last handed to Lord of the Rings star Andy Serkis in 2020.

Previous winners include the Harry Potter films, Kenneth Branagh, John Hurt and Curzon Cinemas.

Marc Samuelson, Chair of BAFTA’s Film Committee said: “Noel is an inspiration to me and to many others, for his central and much-needed role in supporting and championing diverse voices in the British film industry.

“He is a multi-hyphenate who early on in his career has managed successfully to cross the line from respected actor to filmmaker. He truly is able to do it all – acting, writing, directing and producing.

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“His authentic portrayal of London life in his critically acclaimed Hood trilogy cemented his place in British cinema and he continues to push boundaries with his work today.

“He is now building a hugely successful production company, giving opportunities to a wide range of talented people from many different under-represented groups. I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for this year’s award.”

Noel Clarke is currently starring in Sky Original SAS: Red Notice. Pic: Red Notice Limited 2019
Noel Clarke is currently starring in Sky Original SAS: Red Notice. Pic: Red Notice Limited 2019

Noel Clarke commented: “Thank you BAFTA for this acknowledgment and recognition of my work over the past two decades.

“I will endeavour to continue to make ground-breaking work and open doors for underrepresented people that may not often get a chance.”

Clarke is currently starring in the Sky Original film SAS: Red Notice alongside Andy Serkis and Ruby Rose.

The BAFTA film award ceremony will take place on Sunday 11 April on BBC One.