The drama series fronted by the ‘Star Trek Beyond’ actor is criticized for the lack of Black culture by the head of BBC’s creative diversity Miranda Wayland.
- Apr 15, 2021
The hit crime drama starring Elba as troubled detective chief inspector John Luther and Ruth Wilson as the psychopathic murderer Alice, has run for five seasons since 2010, with a film reportedly in the works.
Addressing the diversity on the show during a talk at the MIPTV conference, Miranda Wayland, the BBC’s Head of Creative Diversity, is quoted as saying, “When it first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there – a really strong, Black character lead.”
“We all fell in love with him. Who didn’t, right? But after you got into about the second series, you got kind of like, OK, he doesn’t have any Black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic,” reported The Times.
Wayland added, “It’s about making sure that everything around them – their environment, their culture, the set – is absolutely reflective.”
She suggested things would be different if the corporation were developing the drama today, referencing shows such as Michaela Coel‘s “I May Destroy You” and a TV adaptation of Vikram Seth novel “A Suitable Boy“.
“These are stories about a narrative that most of us are very comfortable about, but showed a different premise on it,” she said. “Diversity should not be seen as a risk that makes shows unpalatable to mass audiences, but as an opportunity to bring an edge to storytelling and move away from stereotypes.”
Neil Cross, who created Luther, has previously addressed the casting of Idris in the lead role and the colour-blind approach to presenting the character.
“It would have been an act of tremendous arrogance for me to try to write a black character. We would have ended up with a slightly embarrassed, ignorant, middle-class, white writer’s idea of a black character.”
A BBC spokesperson told The Times, “Luther is a multi-award winning crime drama series and the iconic role of DCI John Luther has become one of TV’s most powerful detective characters of which we are tremendously proud.”