Actor Idris Elba’s character on “Luther,” a British police drama, “doesn’t feel authentic” because “he doesn’t have any black friends” and “doesn’t eat any Caribbean food,” according a BBC diversity executive, Yahoo Celebrity UK reported.
What are the details?
The outlet reported that the comments came from Miranda Wayland, the BBC’s head of creative diversity.
“When [Luther] first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there — a really strong, black character lead,” Wayland told the MIPTV media conference, according to Yahoo Celebrity UK. “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, ‘Okay, he doesn’t have any black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic.””
White creator of ‘Luther’ has another view
But Neil Cross, the creator of “Luther,” has previously addressed Elba’s character, Metro reported, and noted Luther’s race wasn’t a consideration.
“I have no knowledge or expertise or right to try to tackle in some way the experience of being a black man in modern Britain,” Cross said, according to Metro. “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.”
Here’s a recent trailer:
LUTHER Series 5 | OFFICIAL TRAILER – BBC
What did the BBC have to say?
In response to Wayland’s comments, the BBC told Metro that “we are tremendously proud” of the “Luther” series and that “of course people can have open discussions about our shows, but that doesn’t mean it’s a statement of policy.”
Metro said Wayland was appointed as the network’s head of creative diversity in February 2020 “as part of the corporation’s commitment to increasing on-air diversity.”
#BreakTheGlass with Miranda Wayland
“Luther” features Elba as Detective Chief Inspector John Luther and Ruth Wilson as his adversary Alice Morgan, Yahoo Celebrity UK said, adding that the hit show launched in 2010 and ran for five series until 2019.