When I was in South Africa, I went for dinner with some friends, and I knew more about their history than they did - it just hasn't been told.

There are countless fantastic actors out there who are being denied the opportunity to play Broadway because they're not a name, and I think that's kind of wrong.

For all its problems, I found South Africa a beautiful country, interesting and inspiring.

I love the stage, but it doesn't pay the mortgage.

I'd love to talk with Martin Luther King, just to hear his voice up close and be with someone who had such faith. He had such power.

Growing up, I really looked up to the classic Hollywood actors like Spencer Tracy, Robert Mitchum, and Peter Falk. I love character actors - I've never wanted to be the leading guy.

I used to read comics as a kid, and now I'm reading them for research. It's great fun. It's not bad homework.

Everybody can, you know, go online, read about something, and have an opinion about something.

I was lucky to get into drama school and become a professional actor. No-one ever mentioned the colour of my skin. It's only when I came out of RADA - the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art - that I suddenly realised people started to refer to me as a black actor.

The idea that people are watching me now is a bit unnerving, but I suppose it comes with the territory. It is, perhaps, the modern side of celebrity.

I'm a nut for these 'crime reality' shows. Things like 'Forensic Files,' 'Forensic Detectives.'

I hope my kids can experience the seasons and a climate that's sustainable. The idea that things are going to be so very different for them is slightly scary.

I love New York. New York is busy. It's dirty. It's smelly. I'm a real urban animal: I love cities. I like being in the middle of it all.

I've been on 'Mastermind' - I tied for first place and then lost on the number of passes. My subject was the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy by Philip Pullman. If I did it again, I'd choose Shakespearian tragedies.

Support for charities takes many forms. Some people give their money, some their spare time. I give my name and my voice. We give what we can to make a difference to the people and issues that matter to us. But what's most important, especially for celebrities, is giving our genuine commitment.

My parents came over from Barbados in the late 1950s and early '60s.

I'm very, very used to feeling anonymous, you know?

Birmingham people are the salt of the earth, and I've carried that with me all around the world. People respond to a certain down-to-earthness that I have, and that's purely as a result of coming from Birmingham.

I grew up in Birmingham, but my parents are originally from Barbados. My dad, Romeo, was a long-distance lorry driver, and my mother, Mayleen, worked in catering.

You have to have a certain single-mindedness if you want to reach the top of the profession, and I'm not sure if I've got that cold-eyed egomania that perhaps is needed to get to the top. So as long as I can keep paying the mortgage and keep myself interested, I'll be happy.

It would be extraordinary if the BBC were to make me the first black 'Doctor Who;' it would be extraordinary.

Giving kids the chance to see live theatre should not just be free, it should be compulsory.

The idea that American producers and directors are choosing black British talent to save themselves a buck or two is ridiculous - it's because we're damn good.

I grew up in an environment in Birmingham that was really multicultural, with black kids, Irish kids, Indian kids.

I didn't go abroad until quite late. A friend drove us to Amalfi, Italy, for his sister's wedding when I was a teenager. It was exciting driving through Europe.

When I was sent the script for 'Homeland,' I didn't think anything of it. Three months later, my manager rang and said: 'They are interested in you.' I read it and I realised, 'Yes, I do want this.' Then I got an email saying I'd got it.

I am the youngest of four children - three boys and one girl. I don't think becoming an actor had anything to do with seeking attention, though. My relationship with my siblings when I was growing up was close and playful.

I've been acting for 27 years, and anonymity has always been a part of what I do. Of course you get recognised every now and again, but 'Homeland' pushed me into a completely different strata, and that took me by surprise.

My black hero is and always will be Martin Luther King, not just because of the strength of his oratory but because his vision was very much the reality that I'd come to take for granted.

My parents are very proud of my success but still worry, as I'm in a profession where there is no guarantee of work. They have always supported my decision to go into acting, but there have been tough times work-wise.

As an actor, whether I'm playing Othello on stage or David Estes on 'Homeland,' that ability to give into your imagination is something that I enjoy.

I'm very fortunate. I loved school and, when I went there, race, gangs and violence were not issues. There was a feeling, gone now, that you had to be presentable. If you hadn't combed your hair, older black ladies - complete strangers - would come up to you in the street and pull out a comb and straighten your tie.

If you're black and have leukemia, the chances of finding a donor are drastically reduced. I added my name to the register, and lo and behold, six months later, I was asked to donate. I had a week of 'conditioning' where I had to take these pills and injections to create new stem cells in my body.

We don't like talking about race in the U.K. - it's a very sensitive subject. People get extremely defensive and run for the covers, but I believe we have to talk about it.

There are structural problems within the industry that are preventing us from displaying aspirational black roles.

You always want to look your best at events like the Globes, Emmys, or Oscars. It's a part of the business that I am not particularly comfortable with. I would prefer to turn up in a pair of jeans and an old shirt, but it's all about image - the studio wants you to look your best.

It's pretty hard to stand in the queue auditioning to play a gynaecologist on 'Holby City' when you've just played Mandela. You think, 'Actually, I want to challenge myself.'

Back in 2005, the Anthony Nolan Trust could have asked me just to speak out about the lack of ethnic minority donors on the bone marrow register, but that would have meant nothing if I wasn't prepared to join up myself.

We live on a planet of limited resources - an abstract notion for some of the world's population, but for many of the poorest and most vulnerable, those limits are all too real.

I was always the classroom clown, and the teachers allowed me a certain latitude. The assemblies were good, and the headmaster used to tell little stories; I loved the idea of communal storytelling.

British people are surprised that I'm British! It's extraordinary, I get tweets every day from British people saying, 'I had no idea you were British.'

To be on set with Tom Hiddlestone and Hugh Laurie is just fantastic. But during 'Homeland,' I was on set with Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, so I'm used to working with big hitters.

Studio heads seem to be getting the message that there is not only an audience out there, but there is a desire for people to see people of colour in central roles and in authoritative roles.

We all know the wonders of Skype, but there's nothing like getting a hug from your daughters or taking them to school.

I always tell younger actors that if they want to learn the ropes, there's no better place to do it than right here in the U.K.

Before 'Homeland,' I had £80 in the bank and no idea what I was going to do. I seriously considered giving it all up and getting a job as a lorry driver.

At school, I was the classroom clown - I was always being thrown out for being naughty. Before I left, a teacher called me in and suggested I became an actor.

For the charities, their relationships with celebrity supporters should be as deep and purposeful as the ones they have with any of their supporters and volunteers, based on a genuine understanding of the issues they're tackling.

After 'Homeland,' I was offered a lot of very authoritarian, square, angry boss types, but I wanted to do something different. Casting directors are surprised when they look at my CV and see all the work I've done, from Shakespeare to playing Nelson Mandela.