The Luther star said the industry is aware of the problems but is ‘moving in the right direction’
Idris Elba has said the UK is “moving in the right direction” when it comes to diversity in TV roles. But the 43-year-old actor, who played drug lord Russell “Stringer” Bell in the Wire and will return as Luther in a new series of the BBC detective drama, added there is still more to be done.
Elba follows David Oyelowo, David Harewood, Lenny Henry and Meera Syal in calling for UK networks to improve their representation of ethnic minorities. He has also found success both in the UK and in the US, with roles in Thor, Prometheus, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Indeed, he has stated previously one of the main reasons he moved to the US prior to being cast in HBO’s the Wire was the limited opportunities for black actors in Britain.
He said: “People are aware of the issues that are faced. It’s one of these problems that won’t get fixed overnight but I think it’s progressively getting better.”
The actor added: “The BBC and Luther are very supportive of diversity, especially behind and in front of the camera. It’s important to keep trying.”
Elba, who also runs his own production company and is a DJ, will next reprise his role as DCI John Luther in the fourth series of BBC’s dark crime thriller Luther.
“We’ve evolved, the whole show seems to have grown a bit. There’s some progression in Luther’s life. That version of Luther had to go and stop, and now this version of Luther, who is slightly older and a little bit more smarter and wiser, this begins the birth of the next chapter.”
The Hackney-born star revealed he is still keen to make a movie version of the drama.
“In our heads, this was the film – it’s two hours and it’s a pilot for the film,” he said. “We would love to get a film off the ground but it takes time, and it’s really about when Neil and I are ready to pull that off.”
Asked why this series is only two episodes long, Elba joked making more instalments would be the end of him.
The first series consisted of six episodes, with the following two seasons made up of four instalments each.
“I tend to do Luther when I’m most tired. I throw all my pent-up emotions and stuff into the character,” he said.
“It would be tough to sustain that kind of angst without something giving. There is no reason why we could not do another six-parter – but it would be the end of me.”