EXCLUSIVE: The BBC appears unmoved by the online clamor to cancel JK Rowling over her views on transgender rights.
The British broadcaster is preparing to renew Strike for a sixth season after apologizing twice to the author last month because guests on news shows accused her of being transphobic. A deal is yet to be done, but Deadline understands that the BBC is enthusiastic about another season.
Strike is based on novels by Rowling’s pseudonym Robert Galbraith and chronicles cases investigated by Cormoran Strike (Tom Burke), a war veteran turned private detective, and his business partner Robin Ellacott (Holliday Grainger).
Season six will adapt The Ink Black Heart, which has echoes of Rowling’s own experience. It centers on the murder of a successful YouTube animator after she becomes the target of relentless online hate. At one point, Edie Ledwell is accused of being transphobic.
Rowling has been clear that the character is not based on her own life, but recognizes that she experienced similar online hate during and after writing the novel, published last August. “I wasn’t clairvoyant, I just – yeah, it was just one of those weird twists. Sometimes life imitates art more than one would like,” she said.
Rowling has infuriated LGBTQ+ rights campaigners with her views on transgender issues, including arguing that certain trans women should not have access to single-sex spaces. She has spoken candidly about receiving online hate from her critics, saying that she has received so many death threats she could “paper the house with them.”
The BBC apologized twice to Rowling in February after two news shows failed to properly challenge the views of transgender women who said they were boycotting the Harry Potter video game Hogwarts Legacy because Rowling is “anti-trans.” The BBC said the discussions, broadcast on Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland, fell below “rigorous editorial standards.”
Strike is produced by Brontë Film and TV, the company established to adapt Rowling’s books. Season 5 was a co-production between the BBC and HBO, while Cinemax was involved in previous seasons.
Tom Edge has written the past four seasons of Strike, while Ben Richards wrote Season 1 in 2017. Both are involved in other BBC series: Edge is writing a second season of Vigil and Richards is developing another season of Showtrial.
Season 5, Strike: Troubled Blood, premiered in December with a strong 8M viewers for BBC1. It went on to average 6.9M over the course of its four-part series.
The BBC declined to comment.
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