Florist’s ‘surreal’ chat with Luther star

Helen Thomas
Helen Thomas

A Seaford florist got the surprise of her life when she received a personal phone call from BBC actor Idris Elba.

The popular TV star was at the Coastguard Cottages in Seaford filming scenes for a new two-part mini-series of crime drama Luther alongside fellow actors Rose Leslie and Darren Boyd.

When Helen Thomas, of Church Lane Flowers, heard the actor was in town, she sent him a small bouquet and a card saying she hoped he had enjoyed being in Seaford.

The flowers were delivered on Wednesday morning and Helen thought nothing more of it. That was until her mobile rang later in the day.

“Next thing I hear is a voice saying ‘Hi Helen, this is Idris Elba’,” she said. “I nearly died. Part of me just thought I should say this is a joke but in a way I knew it wasn’t because it was his voice. It was his distinctive Idris Elba voice. I think I just tried to find a polite way to say ‘you’re joking’.

“A lot of people asked me what was said but I don’t really remember much past him saying it was Idris Elba. I know I’m bound to say this but he was really genuine, really nice - he asked about our shop and where it was.

“It was completely surreal. I remember standing in Morrison’s thinking does anybody here know that I’m on the phone to Idris Elba. I think I just mumbled and waffled through the whole conversation. That’s probably the best day I’m ever going to have as a florist! He spoke to me for a good three minutes and he didn’t have to do that, you know. He could have got his assistant to thank me instead but the fact he took the time to speak to me personally just showed he’s a really good people person. He said he doesn’t ever receive any flowers, except at award ceremonies, and the fact I’ve done something really nice for him has made him want to carry it on and do a good deed for someone else, which was really good to hear.

“I never expected the reaction we got. We put it on our blog and loads of people have been coming into the shop since.

“Husbands have been coming in saying their wives have told them about it, women have been coming in asking if it’s true and what was he like. It’s all gone a bit crazy really.

“It was just a complete surprise, but really lovely, to get a phone call back. I really didn’t expect it but it just shows what a lovely people person he is.”

Idris asked Helen questions about the flower shop, such as where it was and how long it’s been there. Helen told her colleagues he was “very down-to-earth, chatty, friendly, easy to talk to and not ‘starry’ at all”.

The story was posted on the florist’s Facebook page, and the story has received more than 2,000 likes, comments and shares.

Idris Elba was filming new episodes of hit BBC drama Luther, in which he plays DCI John Luther, a talented but flawed detective whose personal life suffers at the expense of his career. As well as the Coastguard Cottages, he was spotted filming at Cuckmere Haven and Beachy Head.