BBC axe 'McMafia' crime drama amidst Russia's invasion of Ukraine

The first series aired in 2018

BBC axe ‘McMafia’ crime drama amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
(Image credit: Rex Features)

McMafia, starring James Norton, has been axed by the BBC amid Russia's violent attack on Ukraine.

The BBC One crime drama was tipped to return for a second series, four years after it made its 2018 debut, which saw nearly 10 million viewers tune in.

Now, the second instalment has reportedly been scrapped for good.

A source told The Sun Online"It also wasn't a good look to start a second series of a show where the main protagonist is a gangster from a dodgy Russian family who ultimately triumphs on the back of a string of dark deeds.

"The drama doesn't glorify the violence or corruption, in fact it attempts to highlight the terrible consequences that followed the break-up of the Soviet Union.

"But given it deals with murderers and oligarchs, it's still a very awkward show to be creating in the current climate."

Production for the second series was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as James' hectic schedule, as he was "hard to pin down" to film the follow up. However, now it will not go ahead at all.

The plot saw businessman Alex Godman - played by Happy Valley actor - caught up in the underworld of crime and revenge, after his uncle was brutally murdered.

However, the current invasion on Ukraine and attacks from Russia, backed by President Vladimir Putin, is said to be the defining moment to pull the show.

When the show was first released, the Russian embassy hit out at the BBC for the negative "cliches" they portrayed in the show.

At the time the UK-based embassy tweeted: "It depicts Britain as a playground for Russian gangsters

"Crime rate among Russians in UK is well below national average. Good that our followers are not buying into the cliches BBC is spreading."

President Vladimir Putin launched Russia into a multi-pronged attack as it invaded Ukraine by land, sea and air on 24 February.

The devastation still continues to tear families apart, killing hundreds of people and has displaced thousands more.

Fashion brands, models and celebrities have flocked to support charities to aid refugees, and those in need, in Ukraine. For those wishing to help those in need, can do so to support Ukraine at this heartbreaking time.

Maisie Bovingdon

Maisie is a writer and editor, covering Royal News, Showbiz, Lifestyle content, as well as Shopping Writing and E-Commerce, for print and digital publications, including Marie Claire, Hello!, Fabulous, Mail Online and Yahoo!.