Harlesden actor's BBC documentary explores representation on stage and screen

Ricardo P Lloyd

Ricardo P Lloyd - Credit: Ricardo P Lloyd

A Harlesden actor investigates what it means to be Black in the arts and entertainment industries in a new BBC documentary.

My Name is Ricardo P Lloyd is released on July 18 on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.

In it, Ricardo explores race and representation in UK theatre, television, and film.

The up-and-coming actor examines his own journey, inspirations, and aspirations, as well as the accompanying struggles and structural barriers for Black people in the UK’s industry.

He interviews prominent thinkers and figures in media including Dr Clive Nwonka, lecturer at UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies; actor Tobi Bakare (Death in Paradise, Kingsman: The Golden Circle); Clint Dyer, deputy artistic director of The Royal National Theatre; and actor Aml Ameen (Yardie, I May Destroy You).

A common theme that emerges throughout the documentary is the well-trodden path from the UK to the US for Black actors that are seeking greater opportunities in their careers.

Ricardo, who has himself considered the transition, and his guests discuss the UK’s position in the global media ecosystem and how it can foster a better environment to retain Black talent. 

“I have been very bold in speaking up on the issues of race and representation in the industry in the UK because I felt I had no choice but to address them," he said.

“Rather than wait until I am older and more established to speak out, I am risking my own career in the hope that it will inspire and empower future generations. There are many barriers I have personally faced, some known and some unknown."

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Ricardo had a passion for acting at a young age, doing impersonations ranging from the train conductor to Bob Marley, and was inspired by trailblazer Sidney Poitier to pursue his talent at university.

He was named one of the “top 20 to watch out for” by The Voice in 2020.

“I hope that this documentary will not only shed some light on the challenges that many people of colour have to deal with daily, but that those in positions of power will respond with real, tangible changes," he said.

“I want to see the industry celebrate black talent instead of pushing actors out. Representation at all levels should be the goal, not just tokenism."

Visit www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00199vv