‘Luther’ star Idris Elba speaks out over lack of diversity in British television


While American television has done a tremendous over the past decade or so in being much more inclusive and diverse, that is not necessarily the same all over the world. Specifically when you look at series in Great Britain, there are very few minority cast members at all.

Specifically, look at some shows such as “Downton Abbey” and “Call the Midwife,” who have some black characters on rare occasion, and the majority of regulars are white. “Doctor Who” has at least featured a black companion, but for the most part it is difficult to find much racial representation among many of the hit shows.

Of course, there is the case of “Luther,” but as star Idris Elba is set to tell members of parliament (in a speech published by The Guardian), this came about through special circumstances where he could find fame elsewhere first to become a trusted name:

“I knew I wasn’t going to land a lead role [in the U.K.]. I knew there wasn’t enough imagination in the industry for me to be seen as a lead … In other words, if I wanted to star in a British drama like Luther, then I’d have to go to a country like America. And the other thing was, because I never saw myself on TV, I stopped watching TV. Instead, I decided to just go out and become TV.”

Elba specifically claims that it is because of his work on “The Wire” that his gig here even happened, and of course he does not want it to stay this way forever. Many other black actors from Britain have also had to travel to America in order to find careers, so this is hardly a situation where the problem is limited to just one person.

As for the future of “Luther” itself on television, that is unclear, though Elba has said that he would love to play the part in a feature film.

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