Idris Elba made a name for himself playing DCI John Luther, a television antihero on BBC’s Luther, a critically acclaimed psychological crime drama. But as dope as, the show and character was, it became the subject of criticism by Miranda Wayland, BBC’s diversity chief. At the MIPTV conference this week, Wayland made headlines for her comments about the fictional detective’s authenticity – or lack thereof. “When it first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there — a really strong, Black character lead,” Wayland said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Wayland’s comments ignited a discussion and even criticism of racial stereotypes on social media. “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 took it a bit further, highlighting the importance of cultural signifiers, saying it is crucial that television brass at media companies ensure Black characters’ have an inclusive environment that fosters a culture that is “reflective” of their background and walk of life. “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 continued. “It will be very much about how can we make sure that this program is authentic in terms of the storytelling.”
It makes sense to state that Luther was written and created by Neil Cross, a caucasian man.