Idris Elba as BBC Luther

Idris Elba: BBC chief in race row over star’s detective Luther

Idris plays the lead role in the hard-hitting detective series

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BBC character Luther, played by Idris Elba, has been criticised by one of the Beeb’s diversity experts for not having Black friends.

Creative diversity chief Miranda Wayland is also said to have complained that the actor’s detective alter-ego “doesn’t feel authentic” because he “doesn’t any eat Caribbean food”.

Idris Elba plays the titular character in detective drama Luther (Credit: BBC)

What did the BBC boss say about Idris Elba’s character Luther?

The Times reported that Miranda said: “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’.”

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The diversity chief reportedly called for TV shows to be more authentic and inclusive.

The Times reported that she added: “It’s about making sure that everything around [the characters] – their environment, their culture, the set – is absolutely reflective.”

Idris has gone on to star in a number of Hollywood films (Credit: Rudy Torres/Image Press Agency/Splash News /

How did the BBC respond?

In a statement sent to ED!, the BBC addressed the comments, hailing DCI John Luther as “one of TV’s most powerful detective characters” and pointing out that the Beeb is “tremendously proud” of the creation.

The spokesperson added: “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.

OK, he doesn’t have any Black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic.

“Of course people can have open discussions about our shows but that doesn’t mean it’s a statement of policy.”

Hollywood actor Idris Elba, who is from Hackney in London, plays the lead role in the hard-hitting detective drama.

The first series of Luther was on screens in 2010. Since then another four have aired, the most recent being in 2019.

The BBC boss said characters needed to be more authentic (Credit: BBC)

Luther film in the pipeline

Earlier this year, Idris confirmed he was working on a spin-off film.

Speaking on Capital Radio, the star said: “Listen, I’m going to be making Luther: The Movie.

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“I’m super excited and I hope the fans are sort of excited for that. It’s been a long time coming for a movie, for people that have loved the show.

“We’ve been making the show for 10 years, so we’re making a film.”

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