In this podcast episode, we hear all about the life and career of Cleo Sylvestre, the incredible pioneering black actor who broke down the doors of racism in theatre, film and television in the UK.
Cleo was the first black actor in a major role at The National Theatre, the first main black character in Crossroads, broke ground in Ken Loache’s Up the Junction and Cathy Come Home, played amazing parts alongside Anthony Sher, and sang To Know Him Is to Love Him with the Rolling Stones.
There was a significant moment in history when Cleo was cast as Noelle Gordon’s adopted daughter Melanie in Crossroads after Enoch Powell’s ‘rivers of blood speech’ that ignited swathes of racism in the UK. She speaks of a time that was extremely tough as a black woman and yet her incredible passion was her constant guide to keep going.
Cate would love to see Cleo be given a part in Bridgerton and a lifetime award from BAFTA. If anyone has any links, please do put her forward as she really is the best.