Mandela star Idris Elba returns to his Forest Gate roots

Tony Hunter, left, with Mandela star Idris Elba at Uncle Tom's garage in Forest Gate

Tony Hunter, left, with Mandela star Idris Elba at Uncle Tom's garage in Forest Gate - Credit: Archant

Just days ahead of travelling to South Africa for the premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the film’s leading actor was in Forest Gate.

Idris Elba, who was born in the area and grew up in Canning Town, was visiting Uncle Tom’s garage in Dames Road while filming for a BBC2 TV show called Idris Elba: King of Speed. As part of the two-part documentary Idris will get the chance to drive some of the world’s fastest cars.

The actor, who has also starred in Luther, The Wire and Pacific Rim, spent several hours at the garage together with a film crew.

He also had the chance to drive a Ford Fiesta XR2, black with a red stripe, in the streets around the garage while he was filmed.

Tony Hunter, 45, the owner of Uncle Tom’s garage said Idris’s first car was a black XR2 with a red stripe. He also worked in a garage nearby and used to come to Uncle Tom’s when he was a teenager.

Tony said: “He used to work at a garage up the road, when he was an apprentice when he was 16 or 17. We had the XR2 up on the ramp under a cover and then we took the cover off. He said it was his first car and then drove around the corner.

“It was amazing. He is such a nice fella and he hasn’t forgotten his roots.”

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