Luther Isn’t Authentically Diverse Says BBC Diversity Chief

The BBC One series, Luther, is not considered authentic according to the network’s diversity chief. The crime psychological thriller series was created by Neil Cross and starred Idris Elba as the title character, John Luther, a gifted and temperamental detective chief inspector who has an obsession with his cases and does not always play by the book. Elba is also known for his memorable roles as Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell in The Wire and in films such as Beasts of No Nation, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and Molly’s Game. The series received critical acclaim with Elba winning a Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award and being nominated for numerous Emmy Awards along with the show.

Luther premiered in 2010 running for five seasons between nine years, featuring a multitude of different actors in each season. The series also starred many known actors such as Ruth Wilson, Rose Leslie, Dermot Crowley, and Warren Brown. Back then, the series was exceptional for having a black character at the center of the show. Since then, the Hollywood community continues to evolve to become more diverse and inclusive and certain people have looked back at the inaccuracies of shows and how they portrayed black characters. That was the case for BBC’s diversity chief on her thoughts of Luther.

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According to ET Canada, BBC’s diversity chief, Miranda Wayland, commented at a conference that she did not think that Luther was authentic when telling stories of its lead character, with one of her reasons being that Luther does not have any black friends. Wayland argued that authentic storytelling of people from different racial backgrounds requires the reflection of their environment and culture and plans to incorporate that in her role in future storytelling. Wayland’s full statement can be read below:

[John Luther] doesn’t have any Black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic. 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.

Wayland’s statements came with a bit of controversy as various people on social media were calling her remarks stereotypical to black people and that having the show adhere to those standards would be racist. While Wayland’s comments about authentic portrayals of diverse characters is understandable and justified, the context is vital when specifically referring to Luther. John Luther is portrayed as a committed detective who gets personally and emotionally involved in his investigations due to his personal demons and his unconventional methods of solving cases puts him in conflict with his colleagues. Because of his priority with the job, he is often very lonely, which explains why he does not have too many friends. Luther also stars Nikki Amuka-Bird and Wunmi Mosaku as associates of Luther, both of whom are Black.

But the BBC network is dedicated to making their productions more diverse both in front of and behind the camera, with programs like Small Axe and I May Destroy You as exemplary works about the lives of Black characters. Luther is still considered one of the network’s most popular programs for BBC One, and while the authenticity regarding the title character is subjective, Wayland supporting and celebrating shows that bring value to inclusive culture is sure to create more stories in that realm.

Next: Every Upcoming Idris Elba Movie

Source: ET Canada

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