BBC Diversity Chief: Idris Elba's Luther character 'doesn’t feel authentic'

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 14 April 2021
Idris Elba

Idris Elba

Miranda Wayland, the BBC's Diversity Chief, has cited 'Luther' as an example of a show which is only superficially diverse, and claimed Idris Elba's character John Luther was not "authentic" enough because he didn't have "any black friends"

The BBC's Diversity Chief has claimed Idris Elba's character John Luther was not "authentic" enough because he didn't have "any black friends".

Miranda Wayland admitted Idris was a "really strong, black character lead" when he first portrayed the titular detective in 'Luther', but she cited the BBC drama series as an example of a show which is only superficially diverse.

According to The Times newspaper, Miranda told the MIPTV conference: "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.

"It’s about making sure that everything around them – their environment, their culture, the set – is absolutely reflective."

But the show's creator Neil Cross, who is white, insisted it would've been "an act of tremendous arrogance" if he had tried to "write a black character", admitting the character only became black after Idris had landed the role.

He said: "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.

"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 spokeswoman said: "The iconic role of DCI John Luther has become one of TV’s most powerful detective characters of which we are tremendously proud."