McMafia ‘AXED as BBC decides ‘dodgy Russian family’ drama would be ‘troublesome’ amid Ukraine crisis’

McMafia was axed after the BBC decided a program about a “dodgy Russian family” would be “inconvenient” amid the Ukraine crisis, it has been claimed.

The gangster drama, which won critical acclaim and drew nearly 10 million viewers when it debuted in 2018, would not be returning for a second series.

Production had been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but the invasion of Ukraine would have acted as the nail in the coffin for the much-loved series.

“Wouldn’t that be nice!” McMafia reportedly AXED after BBC decided crime drama about ‘dodgy Russian family’ would be ‘awkward’ amid Ukraine crisis

Leading man James Norton, who saw his star rise as a result of the show, was also increasingly “hard to pin down” in time for filming.

A TV insider said The sun: ‘But it was also not a good idea to start a second series of a show where the main protagonist is a gangster from a dubious Russian family who ultimately triumphs on the back of a series of dark deeds.

“The drama does not glorify violence or corruption, in fact it attempts to highlight the terrible consequences that followed the breakup of the Soviet Union.

“But given that it’s about murderers and oligarchs, it’s still a very awkward sight to put on in the current climate.”

wow!  The series, which won critical acclaim and drew nearly 10 million viewers when it debuted in 2018, would not return for a second series (James Norton and others are pictured)

wow! The series, which won critical acclaim and drew nearly 10 million viewers when it debuted in 2018, would not return for a second series (James Norton and others are pictured)

The BBC press office has been contacted for comment by MailOnline.

It comes after Netflix made the decision to suspend its service in Russia, a company spokesperson said on Sunday.

Earlier this week, Netflix temporarily halted all future projects and acquisitions in Russia as it assessed the impact of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia,” the Netflix spokesperson said.

In demand: Star man James, who saw his star rise following the show, has also been growing

In demand: Star man James Norton, who saw his star rise following the show, was also increasingly ‘hard to pin down’ in time for filming (pictured with Juliet Rylance)

The streaming service previously said it had no plans to add public channels to its Russian service, despite regulations that would require it to distribute state-backed channels.

When McMafia aired, the Russian Embassy even denounced the BBC for spreading negative “clichés” about its citizens in the hit series.

The eight-part series, which first aired on Christmas Day, depicted a world where Russians navigate a world plagued by criminal activity – but the embassy moved quickly to underline the difference between fact and fiction.

A TV insider said: 'It was also not a good idea to start a second series of a show where the main protagonist is a gangster from a dubious Russian family who ultimately triumphs on the back of a series of dark acts.

Oh no! A TV insider said: “But it was also not a good idea 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 series of dark deeds” (James, left, is pictured with David Dencik, right)

Taking to Twitter, the UK-based embassy said the drama “paints Britain as a playground for Russian gangsters” and asked its followers to take a poll to guess how many Russian offenders are currently in British prisons.

Fifty-nine percent of voters guessed the Embassy’s correct answer “less than 10.”

Following the result, the Embassy tweeted: ‘The crime rate among Russians in the UK is well below the national average. It’s good that our subscribers do not subscribe to the clichés that the BBC broadcasts.

Ministry of Justice figures from September last year show that 35 people with Russian nationality are imprisoned in England and Wales, including 34 men and one woman.

This had dropped from 51 inmates by the end of 2016.

This figure is significantly lower than many other European countries, including Poland, which has 891 citizens locked up in the UK, Lithuania, which has 424, and Portugal, 245.

Yet the figure is higher than in other countries, including Greece and Belgium.

McMafia follows the life of a privately trained businessman called Alex Godman, played by British actor James Norton, who is drawn into the underworld after the murder of his uncle.

Tragic: Production had been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but Russia's invasion of Ukraine would have acted as the nail in the coffin for the much-loved series (LR: Aleksey Serebryakov, James, Maria Shukshina, Faye Marsay and Juliet )

Tragic: Production had been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would have acted as the nail in the coffin for the much-loved series (LR: Aleksey Serebryakov, James, Maria Shukshina, Faye Marsay and Juliet )