Myth of a multicultural England in BBC’s Luther
in Adjusting the contrast
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This chapter critiques the representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) characters in Luther in the historical context of racism within the British police forces, particularly the Metropolitan Police Service (the Met). BBC's detective show Luther, which is often lauded for its groundbreaking cinematography, Idris Elba's acting and, in some quarters, its healthy representation of race, is just as flawed as the larger British television industry from which it emerged. In 2010, when Luther was first broadcast, BAME officers comprised 4.8 per cent of the police officers in England and Wales. Presented with very little family or a Black community to belong to, and a police environment where he is a statistical anomaly, John Luther is a perpetual outsider. To present him without a Black family or community is to buy into the assimilatory promise of multicultural England, while ignoring the cost of such 'inclusion'.

Adjusting the contrast

British television and constructs of race

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