Idris Elba to Front New Discovery Kickboxing Series


EDINBURGH: Idris Elba has signed on for an all-new limited series from Discovery Networks International that will see the Golden Globe-winning actor and producer train to become a professional kickboxer.

Titled Idris Elba: Fighter, the three-part series was unveiled at the Edinburgh Television Festival. Produced by Shine North and Elba’s production company Green Door Pictures, the series was shot on location in Britain, Cuba, Japan, South Africa and Thailand. It will broadcast on Discovery Networks International’s factual channels across more than 220 countries and territories, including the U.S. and U.K., beginning early next year.

The series sees Elba train to become a professional kickboxer and eventually compete against an experienced fighter. Throughout the series, Elba will be mentored by former world champions, trainers and coaches. Elba previously worked with Discovery on a racing series titled No Limits.

“It has been a lifelong ambition of mine to fight professionally,” said Elba, who trained in kickboxing in his twenties. “Entering the ring to further test myself as a human being is a challenge I have been looking to take on for quite some time.”

Marjorie Kaplan, the president of content at Discovery Networks International, commented, “This raw yet intimate series will show a side of Idris that viewers and fans won’t get from his spectacular film work. From East London to the Far East and the Caribbean, he’ll explore strength, stamina and spirituality through a range of martial arts and their fascinating histories. We’re absolutely thrilled that Idris has chosen Discovery to tell his story and journey in the right way.”

Ed Sayer, the VP of production and development for factual at Discovery Networks International, added, “Idris’s trust and continued partnership with Discovery is a testament that we are uniquely positioned to share his story worldwide. It’s intensely personal, beyond inspirational and depicts one man’s journey to face his own fears, challenges and sense of self. It will be a look at the real Idris and only Discovery can share this story.”

“Filmed over the course of a year, this is by far the most ambitious project we have ever attempted with Idris,” remarked Rick Murray, executive producer for Shine North. “He’s changed his entire lifestyle to prepare for the fight, and has suffered some huge setbacks along the way. But it’s watching how Idris tackles these obstacles that makes this such a revealing and compelling series.”