LISTEN HERE FELLA | Hear from the LOD stars ahead of Series 6 on Sunday
The countdown has started to the new series of Line Of Duty this Sunday (21 March) on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
Find out about the new series from Martin Compston, VickyMcClure, Adrian Dunbar, Kelly Macdonald, Shalom Brune-Franklin and Jed Mercurio.
Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar and Martin Compston return for the sixth instalment of Line of Duty with Shalom Brune-Franklin, a new addition to the AC-12 team. Kelly Macdonald makes her debut as guest lead Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Davidson, the senior investigating officer on an unsolved murder case whose suspicious conduct attracts the attention of Anti-Corruption.
Interview with Martin Compston (DS Steve Arnott)
He definitely sees himself as a bit of a Sherlock Holmes with a waistcoat.— Martin Compston
Where do we find DS Steve Arnott at the beginning of the series?
At the beginning of the series, Steve is still a DS. So, still no promotion but he is chasing! He has got bored as AC-12 is now tainted and the investigations have been severely curtailed. At the start, he is chasing up mundane cases; similar to chasing Lennie James over the expense of a bacon roll in the first series!
Steve thrives on the thrill of the chase and the adventure of it so he’s a bit lost and having issues both physically and mentally. He definitely sees himself as a bit of a Sherlock Holmes with a waistcoat.
Every year with Line of Duty, these scripts are a gift and we get more into the back stories of each character through Jed’s writing. If we deliver what’s on the page we are onto a winner.
Have there been any memorable moments during filming of this series?
This series has been a shoot like no other. We shot in the middle of a pandemic and it was interesting when we stopped for the first lockdown. Nobody had any idea what was going on and it was such a surreal feeling. Before we stopped, there was the looming threat of being shut down hanging over us. It’s quite hard to get into work in the morning and get yourself motivated when everyone is worried about getting home.
The biggest thing for me was when we started this year, I had just come off the job called The Nest and I had a few topless scenes in the show. I was probably in the best shape of my life. So, when we started the job at the beginning of this year, I was in pretty good nick! Then lockdown happened - we all ate too much, drank too much.
When I came back to the UK and had to quarantine, I asked our lovely costume designer to leave Steve’s suits in my room so I could try them on as they were all tailored. That was a really tough day - I was bursting out of everything! I didn’t realise how the suits were quite so tailored to my original shape!
I thought quarantine was going to be wine and pizza, but it was water, soup and an exercise bike for two weeks! I was chuffed to get out of it.
How do you think Steve would fare during lockdown?
Not well. He would have probably been looking for someone to arrest. He thrives being out and about. The job is really all he has. Steve is a joy to play but he has no one.
What was it like working with Kelly Macdonald?
A huge part of this show and its success is down to its incredible guest stars. Kicking off with Lennie James, then Keeley Hawes, Danny Mays popping in, Thandie Newton and Stephen Graham, all these legends!
As a fellow Scot, Kelly Macdonald was one of the ones I was most excited about. She’s had the perfect career. She was in Trainspotting, Boardwalk Empire and she’s got her own Scottish Pixar film, Brave.
She’s got it all! She’s a wonderfully talented actor and is such a joy.
Some of the interview scenes have been mammoth and it’s the luck of the draw but Adrian and I definitely got the short straw this year and are in every single one. Kelly has a couple of tasty ones. When I met her at the Scottish Baftas, I knew they were in discussions about the role, so I asked her if there was anything I could do to help as I was so excited to have her on the show.
She said how terrified she was of the interview scenes! It’s a common theme of anyone coming onto the show but we are all terrified too! It’s a hard day’s graft and I think some of the scenes this year were 36 minute takes, which is full on. But she’s a trooper, she got through it and hopefully we’ve got another good one in the bag!
Interview with Vicky McClure (DI Kate Fleming)
The masks, testing and hygiene very quickly became a thing of the norm. It was hard not being able to go home at weekends but it helped that we were with really good friends.— Vicky McClure
Do you have any memorable moments during the filming of this series?
Every single day. I am the class clown on this job. We have a laugh everyday as we either forget our lines, fluff them or say something stupid. I can’t think of anything overly specific as its such a regular occurrence. To be honest, it usually involves Adrian Dunbar.
Filming paused on Line of Duty for six months. How do you think Kate Fleming would handle a lockdown?
Kate Fleming would have just carried on working. She’s a workaholic and would have carried on fighting crime. I think she would have been quite lonely - Josh would have been at his dad’s a lot more.
What was it like filming the series during the COVID pandemic?
It came with lots of challenges, the filming schedule was difficult to get our heads around. The masks, testing and hygiene very quickly became a thing of the norm. It was hard not being able to go home at weekends but it helped that we were with really good friends. I feel really proud of what we achieved in such a difficult time.
What was it like working with Kelly Macdonald?
Kelly is a great laugh and an incredible actor. Again, we were really grateful to have a new guest lead that fits straight into the Line of Duty family. We had some brilliant scenes to do together and enjoyed many jigsaws together! I think everyone will be blown away with Jo’s story line. It couldn’t of been in better hands.
Interview with Adrian Dunbar (Superintendent Ted Hastings)
I don’t think Ted would fare well during lockdown. I know a lot of people who had a decent lockdown and that’s because they got to spend more time with their families, but of course Ted is on his own.— Adrian Dunbar
Where do we find Hastings at the beginning of this series?
Good question. Quite a lot has happened and there’s been quite a time jump. In his working life, a lot of things have destabilised which have affected the unit. I think he’s another year older but not another year wiser. We are still on the search for the network of corrupt coppers.
Are we any closer to them? Hopefully! Let’s face it - time is running out a bit for Ted; the age he is, whether he can stay in the force, is he useful enough, is he a bit of a dinosaur? He’s up against quite a bit. His personal life is not in great shape.
Have there been any memorable moments during filming of this series?
I thought Vicky in particular has done some memorable work this series and Martin has some emotional scenes. Ted is put through the ringer; particularly towards the end. But there have been funny moments too.
In one of the interviews, I had to say ‘a bunch of racist thugs’ but I got it wrong and said ‘a bunch of racist slugs’ which got a big laugh from the crew. I hope that survives on a bloopers reel somewhere so we can all see it!
There was a pause in filming for six months. How do you think Ted would handle a lockdown?
I don’t think Ted would fare well during lockdown. I know a lot of people who had a decent lockdown and that’s because they got to spend more time with their families, but of course Ted is on his own. I think he would have really suffered as his work is everything to him and going into work in the morning, reminds him of who he is. It gives him a sense of self-worth, gives him dignity and all those things that work gives us back. More so for Ted as he isn’t going home to his wife and he doesn’t have kids. He probably would have drank a bit too much, slept in, not shaved. It would have been a big ask for Ted!
Interview with Kelly Macdonald (DCI Joanne Davidson)
It's so daunting going into a show with such a huge profile. I started watching it and got completely hooked.— Kelly Macdonald
Can you tell us about DCI Joanne Davidson?
At the start of the series, she’s quite a lonely figure. She’s struggling and we don’t quite know why that is.
Where do we meet her at the start?
She’s doing very well in her career. She’s the head of an important case and it’s very high profile.
What kind of officer is she - what are her strengths?
She’s got a very stressful position and deals with it well but is quite a closed off person. There’s a lot going on under the surface with her. She gets to the point where she has to make tricky decisions.
Were you a fan of Line of Duty before?
I hadn’t watched it until this part came up! But I’ve not watched lots of things - Game of Thrones, The Sopranos! However, I was very aware of Line of Duty as everyone in the UK is. I was sent the first couple of scripts and the part was phenomenal. It's so daunting going into a show with such a huge profile. I started watching it and got completely hooked. Then when we were near the beginning of filming, I was half way through Thandie Newton’s series [series four] and the nerves started to creep in so that’s when I stopped! I still have some to catch up.
What was it like to film during the COVID pandemic?
2020 was a tricky year for the whole world! We started filming this show in February and we got a few weeks in when lockdown happened. We had this massive gap before we got to come back. It’s been unlike anything I’ve ever been involved in.
It’s such a massive job and an amazing part but with a whole worldwide pandemic on top of things, we’ve had to come back in a slightly different way. I’ve been so welcomed by production and the rest of the cast that I’ve had a lovely time! Well, as lovely as I could during this pandemic.
How were the interview room scenes?
Ooh! They were the thing that filled me with the most dread but actually I really enjoyed them. One of the interview scenes is bigger than anything I’ve ever done before - I think over half an hour. We filmed it over two days and on the first day, the cameras were only on my character. I was told there were 50 cameras set up on me just in that one day which is mind blowing. It was like doing a play and it was a real treat to have that kind of material in one scene!
Interview with Shalom Brune-Franklin (DC Chloe Bishop)
I was such a fan of the show and it was such a surreal experience to get to walk onto the set of something you are already such a huge fan of.— Shalom Brune-Franklin
Can you tell us about DC Chloe Bishop?
Chloe is the newest member of AC-12. Like anyone starting a new job, she’s so eager to prove to her bosses that she was the right choice. She’s incredibly hardworking and we can see she’s really trying to impress. She’s on a journey to capture bent coppers!
Tell us about the casting process?
I remember receiving an email that said ‘LOD6’ and I thought oh it’s an audition for a show called ‘Lod’. It didn’t click in my head that it was Line of Duty. I opened the email and I saw the words ‘Anti-Corruption Unit 12’ and I shrieked. I freaked out. I was so nervous but there were so many lines to learn that in a way, it took away my nerves. It was mad. I was such a fan of the show and it was such a surreal experience to get to walk onto the set of something you are already such a huge fan of. I was over the moon to get the job! Line of Duty has so many people in it creatively that I look up to and admire. To be a part of that is quite unbelievable.
What was it like on the set for the first time?
I remember walking onto set and seeing the glass box [interview room] and there was part of me that wanted to fan girl and scream. The other half was thinking that I had been hired to do a job, you need to calm down and do justice to the scene. I was quite surprised at how quickly I felt I was part of it but I still do feel like a fan girl.
Did you watch previous series again in preparation?
I did! I actually hadn’t watched series five so it was good to re-watch the others and then see Stephen Graham. It was so good - THAT scene. We all know which scene I am talking about.
How did you get on with interview room scenes?
It was so nice to have everyone be so reassuring. Martin Compston especially was so good and reassured me that although it looked like a mountain, it will get done! I have never experienced having to retain that much information ever. It’s incredible that people do this for a job, it’s fascinating. The scenes are half an hour long which is pretty rare! I surprised myself in staying so focused and my eyes didn’t go too fuzzy. I really enjoyed it!
Interview with Jed Mercurio (Writer, Executive Producer and Showrunner)
I would describe her as the most enigmatic adversary that AC-12 have faced to date…— Jed Mercurio
What can you tell us that is new in this series?
As with every series of Line of Duty, we introduce a brand new character. This series we have Kelly Macdonald who plays DCI Joanne Davidson. It’s a great device for allowing the series to be accessible to brand new viewers who have no knowledge of previous series.
This series, AC-12 will investigate what’s going on at Hillside Lane Police Station in a case led by DCI Joanne Davidson and we look at the investigation of a cold case. It’s a high profile murder case of Gail Vella that has remained unsolved for over a year and which the police force is struggling to solve. There’s been no closure.
Are there any new locations for this series?
One of our main locations for this series is Hillside Lane Police Station. It’s actually a police station that is mentioned way back in series one - Matthew Cottan served here before he joined Kingsgate station where he was on the same team as DCI Tony Gates. It’s the home station for our guest lead DCI Joanne Davidson and Kelly is giving a terrific performance in this character. I would describe her as the most enigmatic adversary that AC-12 have faced to date…
What has it been like filming under COVID conditions?
We have taken lots of precautions for cast and crew. We have filmed on studio sets which is a departure from previous series where we have shot in an actual working building. The reason why is because we can ventilate the set and social distance our cast and crew. We have had rigorous measures in place during the shoot.
Written and created by Jed Mercurio and made by World Productions for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, Line of Duty returns at 9pm on Sunday 21 March.
Produced by Ken Horn, the executive producers are Jed Mercurio, Simon Heath for World Productions and Tommy Bulfin for the BBC. The series is directed by Daniel Nettheim, Gareth Bryn and Jennie Darnell. Line of Duty is made with support from Northern Ireland Screen and international distribution is handled by ITV Studios.