Idris Elba reads ‘Don’t Quit’ poem in moving coronavirus PSA for the BBC

The actor and DJ tested positive for Covid-19 last month

Idris Elba has recorded a moving new coronavirus PSA for the BBC.

In the 90-second clip, which is appearing across BBC TV channels, Elba recites Don’t Quit, a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier as part of a larger message of the same name.

Elba’s reading of the poem is set against footage of the UK’s battle against Covid-19, featuring empty supermarket shelves, closed businesses and the applause given to NHS workers every Thursday.


“When things go wrong as they sometimes will; when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill; when the funds are low but the debts are high; when you want to smile but you have to sigh; when care is pressing you down a bit, rest if you must but don’t you quit,” the poem reads.

The message continues: “Life is strange with its twists and turns, as every one of us sometimes learns; and main failures turn about, when we might have won had we stuck it out. Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow; you may succeed with another blow.

“Success is failure turned inside out, the silver tint of the clouds of doubt. And you can never tell how close you are; it may be near, though it seems so far. So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit; it’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”

The BBC also recently used iconic sketches from The Thick Of It, I’m Alan Partridge and more in a series of adverts to encourage self-isolation.


Idris Elba revealed that he had tested positive for coronavirus last month, going on to say he believes that the virus is the earth’s response to being “damaged” by humanity.

You May Like