Though the series has gathered both critical acclaim and an international following over the course of only 20 episodes spread out through five series (and development on a film beginning to take shape)- success that catapulted actor Idris Elba to international acclaim- BBC diversity chief Miranda Wayland has an issue with Luther. Stating that television and streaming heads must ensure characters of color be surrounded by an environment and culture that reflects their background, Wayland used the occasion of this week's MIPTV to question just how "authentic" Elba's series is when it comes to telling his story from a Black perspective.
"When ['Luther'] 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," Wayland explained. "It's great having those big landmark shows with those key characters, but it's about making sure everything around them, their environment, their culture, the set is absolutely reflective. It will be very much about how can we make sure that this program is authentic in terms of the storytelling."
Wayland's comments have been met with a serious level of pushback via social media, and multiple outlets have reached out to Elba's representatives but there is still no comment. A BBC spokesperson issued a statement to The Daily Mail that read, "Of course people can have open discussions about our shows but that doesn't mean it's a statement of policy. '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. The BBC is committed to its continued investment in diversity and recent BBC One dramas 'I May Destroy You' and 'Small Axe' are testament to that."