Idris Elba refuses to turn his back on his roots

Idris Elba refuses to turn his back on his roots

Good news everyone! The fantastic Idris Elba is returning to UK television screens with his equally fantastic detective series Luther. The BBC announced the news last week, confirming that the tatty-coated hero will be back for two special episodes late next year.

In their reports the BBC picks out an interesting quote from series creator Neil Cross, “Luther is coming back where he belongs. Back to the BBC. Back to London. And back to work.” After reading this a few times it struck me that Cross might not just be referring to the character with his words.

After finding his big break in America on the iconic HBO series The Wire, Elba has become one of the UK’s biggest movie stars appearing in blockbusters such as: Pacific Rim, Thor and Prometheus. But at the same time Elba returned to the UK TV with Luther. It was a move that raised a few eyebrows as it was perceived as a step down from Hollywood films. Obviously, that didn’t matter to him though and Luther became a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

Hearing Elba talk of a potential Luther films it is clear this role is not just a ‘job’ to him. He is passionate about the character and I think, in part, it is because it was his return ‘home’. It shows his love for his past his culture despite his successes abroad. He is a returning hero to UK minorities aspiring to be actors.

It was a bit of a Luther news bonanza last week, as it was also reported that Luther is to be remade for American television. Elba will help produce, but is unlikely to appear on screen. This too was interesting, if less exciting, news. American remakes of British series rarely fair too well- notable recent exceptions include The Office. But it is refreshing to see our culture invades USA screens considered to the usual one-way traffic north-east across the Atlantic.

Idris Elba is a rare UK success story: A Black performer breaking out to international stardom. But what makes him even more notable is his ability to look back where he came from. He not only produced a great TV show for British screens, but also is spreading it around the world highlighting the worth of UK productions and UK performers.

– Dylan Wiggan

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