A BBC diversity chief has assessed Idris Elba's popular detective John Luther – saying the character doesn't feel authentically black.
BBC executive and Head of Creative Diversity Miranda Wayland praised the corporation's writing and casting of a "strong, black lead", but hinted that she now feels the show is superficially diverse.
Speaking at the MIPTV conference, Miranda suggested that Luther should eat Caribbean food and have more black friends to seem more authentically black.
"When it first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there — a really strong, black character lead," The Times reports she remarked.
"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."
She added: "It's about making sure that everything around them — their environment, their culture, the set — is absolutely reflective."
Idris is not the only black cast member on the show.
The most recent series saw him ally with Wunmi Mosaku's DS Catherine Halliday, and Nikki Amuka-Bird starred in earlier episodes.
The BBC has since addressed Miranda's comments, saying: "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."
Luther creator Neil Cross has previously addressed the casting of Idris, and the colour blind approach to writing Luther's character.
"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," he remarked.
"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."
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