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James Nesbitt is due on Graham Norton show

James Nesbitt is due on Graham Norton show

James Nesbitt is due on Graham Norton show

Irish actor James Nesbitt tells Graham Norton on tonight's show that Northern Ireland is now a brilliant place to film.

The 56-year-old actor explains to chat-show king Norton that he loves working in his homeland.

“I left to go to drama school in 1985 but it is still very much home to me,” he says.

“It is an important time for Ireland and as a result of the peace, over the last 20 years there has been so much filming there.

“It is a vibrant, brilliant incredible place, like a mini-Hollywood.”

The star, who was born in Ballymena, Co Antrim, and raised in Coleraine, Co Derry, reveals his new BBC thriller series Bloodlands touches on Northern Ireland’s recent history.

“This new [drama] examines the balance between preserving the peace and also the legacy of the past and the injustices of some of the crimes,” he says.

And he jumped at the chance of starring in the four-part series produced by acclaimed Jed Mercurio who created the TV mega-hits, Line of Duty and Bodyguard.

“When Jed gives you a call and says, ‘Will you work for me?’ it is like God calling really and it’s like, “Yes, I’ll die for you!’”

In the series he plays Northern Ireland detective Tom Brannick who is called to a possible crime scene where cops and divers are trying to retrieve a car from the depths of Stranford Lough.

Inside they find what seems to be a suicide note but it soon becomes apparent that this is not an open-and-shut case.

Brannick quickly connects the note to an infamous cold case with enormous personal significance.

Soon he is on the hunt for a legendary assassin in an explosive cat-and-mouse game.

The drama has a wealth of Irish talent including Lorcan Cranitch, Pure Mule’s Charlene McKenna, Ian McElhinny from Game of Thrones and Derry Girls, Young Offenders’ Chris Walley, Susan Lynch, Michael Smiley, Lola Petticrew, Kathy Kiera Clarke and Lisa Dwan.

It is already being dubbed the “first Irish Noir series.”

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