Noel Clarke's twin Bafta statuettes sit on the bookshelves of his West London home.Once they represented the pinnacle of his achievement as an actor, writer, producer and director. Today the bronze faces stare blankly out over a career that lies in tatters.
He'd traced his roots in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? and written and starred in the acclaimed Hood Trilogy of youth culture films, directing two of them
Today he is a pariah after a string of highly damaging allegations led to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts suspending his membership, and withdrawing his 2021 Bafta award for outstanding contribution to British cinema just nine days after he was handed the coveted gong.
Clarke, 46, a married father-of-four, is accused of being a sexual predator and a bully. Allegations – made by more than 20 women and spanning a 15-year period – include claims of unwanted touching or groping, sexually inappropriate behaviour and comments on set, the covert filming of a naked audition and the sharing of explicit pictures without consent.
Clarke, who grew up in a tough and impoverished part of West London, vehemently denies the claims. He has not, he says, been granted the presumption of innocence, let alone a fair hearing.
He acknowledges that not all of his past behaviour has been beyond reproach, particularly when events of almost two decades ago are judged by the standards of today.
Norwegian film producer Synne Seltveit claims that Clarke slapped her buttocks during a night out in Glasgow in 2015 and then later sent her an explicit picture via Snapchat.
On her first allegation, Clarke responds with a clear denial: 'I never slapped her bottom and would never have done that.'
But his response to her second allegation is less definite.
Asked if he regrets this and wishes he had been more circumspect, he says again: '100 per cent.' Similarly, he concedes that he may have sometimes been 'over-tactile' but says he has never groped or tried to kiss a woman who 'didn't want to be kissed'.
And that's the sauce for the goose aspect of it all. The law defines an incident as 'racist' if anyone believes it is racist. Crazy? Maybe, but that what it says. Meanwhile, we're apparently not allowed to ask if the complainants had anything in common? Say, ethnicity?
Even now the race card is still working for him, it's just not working quite as well as before. Someone should have told him: When you play the game of victimhood, you win or you die!