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Adrian Dunbar exclusive Line of Duty: 'There's texts and gasps when we get to see the latest scripts'

Irish legend Adrian Dunbar returns to our screens in the latest series of smash hit drama Line of Duty


Adrian Dunbar is Superintendent Ted Hastings

Adrian Dunbar is Superintendent Ted Hastings

We last saw the finger of suspicion being firmly pointed at Ted in cliffhanger season five

We last saw the finger of suspicion being firmly pointed at Ted in cliffhanger season five


Adrian Dunbar is Superintendent Ted Hastings

Adrian Dunbar has admitted there are gasps among the cast of Line of Duty when the scripts for the show land in their email box, as he revealed his belief on why the show continues to be such a big hit.

The BBC cop drama has returned to our screens for a sixth season and with viewing ratings soaring, the Enniskillen-born actor believes there will be much more to come for the huge army of fans who follow the show.

After a pandemic-enforced delay, Dunbar is reprising his role as Superintendent Ted Hastings when Line Of Duty returns tonight alongside his fellow detectives Steve Arnott (played by Martin Compston) and Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure).

And he told Magazine+ that the cast and crew of the show feel a real sense of excitement when writer Jed Mercurio sends through the scripts.

“We are lucky that we have had a big core audience that has been with us on Line of Duty from the start,” began Dunbar, who lists My Left Foot and The Crying Game among his numerous movie credits.

“That has then grown over the period of time and there is an expectation and I suppose you would say a pressure to give people a show they enjoy when we come out with a new series.

“Line Of Duty has become ‘event TV’ and we are very fortunate that it has worked out like this. People anticipate it coming out and having kept the standard so high for so long with our wonderful writer Jed Mercurio.

“This show is not available to download in one go, so people wait each week to see it and this builds anticipation around it.

“That’s part of its success, but only a handful of shows are fortunate enough to be able to do this.

“When Jed sends us the scripts, all the cast looks through them and gasp and send messages to each other about what’s happening and we are as excited as the audience about what is happening.

“We are all fans of the show as well as being a part of it and we know how fortunate we are to be working on such a great production with such wonderful scripts and great staff and crew.

“I hope it can go on for many years and as long as the fans like it, there is no reason why it shouldn’t.”

Aside from Line of Duty Adrian Dunbar has been a long-time Irish legend within various roles on our screens and with four decades of knowledge from within the movie and TV industry behind him, he is well placed to assess how one area of the industry has changed for the better.

“When I started out, women in film both in front of and behind the camera were not getting the kind of opportunities they are now and that’s great to see,” the 62-year-old told us.

“I did a film back in 1991 called Hear My Song and a wonderfully talented lady by the name of Sue Gibson was the first women to be a Director of Photography when she did that film.

“It’s amazing to think that it took so long for a woman to get a DOP role, but that’s the reality of where we were back then.

“In a short space of time, we have come a long, long way in that respect. All of that nonsense has gone now, and a lot of talented women out there made sure it disappeared.

“For example, the first series of Blood we did saw a lead actress of Carolina Main, the director of the first block was Lisa Mulcahy, the director of the second block was Hannah Quinn. So you can see how women are being given the opportunities their talents merit. Those barriers are well and truly down now.


Superintendent Ted Hastings alongside detectives Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Steve Arnott (Martin Compston)

Superintendent Ted Hastings alongside detectives Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Steve Arnott (Martin Compston)

Superintendent Ted Hastings alongside detectives Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Steve Arnott (Martin Compston)

"Women didn't have anything to prove as far as I was concerned - but thankfully there are so many more doors open to everyone now."

Line of Duty has proved to be a show that has defined the more recent phase of Dunbar believes Ireland is “massively punching above our weight” in film and television, as he predicts this nation is ready to explode out of the Covid-19 crisis in glorious fashion.

Opportunities for Irish acting talent has also expanded spectacularly in the last few years, with Dunbar at the forefront of a talent boom that is in evidence at so many levels.

“There is an explosion of Irish talent in all kinds in recent years and it has been great to see,” he added.

“We have seen some incredible actors and writers coming out of Ireland, such amazing talent and they are getting opportunities to work on the biggest of stages.

“There is a big creative movement happening both north and south and the actors in America are massively punching above their weight.

“The film making scene in Belfast is so exciting at the moment and it’s being viewed as a place to make great TV shows and movies and it feels like Irish actors are benefitting from the mood around this country at the moment.

“It was never easy to get a role for an Irish actor outside of Ireland and the UK in my early years working in this business, but people like Domhnall Gleeson and Saoirse Ronan are thriving in America now and so many more are following in their footsteps. It’s great to see.”

⬤ Line of Duty is back on BBC1 every Sunday night at 9pm

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Online Editors