Keeping fans up to date on the intrigue is all in the Line of Duty for Insp ‘Dot’ Cottan star Craig

It is the prime time crime series that has had viewers gripped for almost a decade with nail-biting action, cliff hangers,and  subtle clues to burning questions around police corruption.

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 12:00 am
Updated Saturday, 1st May 2021, 2:16 pm
Blackpool actor Craig Parkinson host of podcast Obsessed with Line of Duty
BBC Pictures
Blackpool actor Craig Parkinson host of podcast Obsessed with Line of Duty BBC Pictures

BBC One’s Line of Duty is set to end with an explosive conclusion, after six series, this weekend... or is it?

One former cast member, who has ensured binge-watchers are kept in the loop, is Blackpool actor Craig Parkinson .

He famously played DI Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan and his role over three series still remains a favourite.

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Actor Martin Compston as Steve Arnott of AC-12 Line of Duty BBC Pictures

He played a key role in identifying and investigating a missing organised crime figure in Central Police, the fictional constabulary at the heart of the drama.

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This is everything we know so far about Line of Duty season 6

‘The Caddy’ - as he was referred in the ratings busting drama - joins Line of Duty obsessives for the digital series, chatting to members of the cast and celebrity super fans as they delve deep into the plot lines, recurring themes and characters, whilst trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of the elusive fourth man/police officer ‘H’.

The actor who also starred in Misfits on E4 and ITV crime series Whitechapel will be on screen again for new Sky Orignal series Intergalactic.

Adrian Dunbar and Martin Compston BBC Pictures

Speaking about his podcast role, he said: “Returning to the world of Line Of Duty, as a podcast host, is very exciting.

“I look forward to chatting with fantastic guests, cast members old and new and getting as frustrated as everyone else trying to work out where AC-12 are taking us this season.

“As someone who’s been deep on the inside, I’m well aware we’ll be in for a rollercoaster ride and hosting the podcast side by side, week by week, allows to delve deep into the files and fan theories of AC-12.”

Each episode, Craig has investigated various theories put forward by fans of the show, as well as getting on the phone to members of the Line of Duty family to ask questions that the podcast wants answers to.

Martin Compston, Shalom Brune-Franklin and Adrian Dunbar who play Steve Arnott, DC Chloe Bishop and Ted Hastings BBC Pictures

But Craig is not the only Lancashire connection to the whodunnit that has captured the nation in the last 10 years.

Bafta nominee, screenwriter and executive producer of the series Jed Mercurio was born in Nelson.

He confirmed that this series had featured ‘disguised’ references to ‘real world scenarios.’

Vicky McClure Detective Inspector Kate Fleming BBC Pictures

He said: “It would be great if people were to go and look up those things and find out a bit more about real world corruption and the kind of thing that inform the storytelling on Line of Duty.

“It’s lovely people are watching and engaging.

"When you make a TV series, you do your best and try make it the best piece of work you possibly can but there are just so many intangibles for how something connects with an audience.

“For whatever reason this season is striking a chord and we’re all thrilled with the response to it.”

Now regarded one of British television’s leading writers, Mercurio, a former RAF medical pilot turned doctor, was made an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List.

The 54-year-old writer and producer behind Line of Duty and Bodyguard, who grew up in Cannock, Staffordshire, received the accolade for services to television drama.

Jed Mercurio with Vicky McClure and Kelly Macdonald BBC Pictures

He studied at the University of Birmingham Medical School before he was commissioned as a pilot officer in the Royal Air Force Medical Branch, receiving flying training with the University Air Squadron.

He had intended to specialise in aviation medicine and it was during his practice as a hospital physician that he answered an advertisement in the British Medical Journal and, despite little writing experience, scripted the BBC medical drama Cardiac Arrest under the pseudonym John MacUre.

Subsequently, he retired from medicine to pursue a writing career under his own name and went on to become a leading writer responsible for some of the most-watched dramas of recent years.

Mercurio’s medical background has continued to influence his writing, with his series Bodies (adapted from his first novel) starring Max Beesley, and Critical, starring Lennie James, both set inside hospitals.

But it was Line Of Duty, which originally began on the BBC in 2012 - with a cast that included Lennie James and Gina McKee alongside Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar - which propelled Mercurio to household name status.

The series, which follows the investigations of police anti-corruption unit AC-12, has been a huge hit and in its total run so far of 36 episodes has attracted guest stars including Keeley Hawes, Thandie Newton, Daniel Mays, Stephen Graham and in this most recent series, Kelly Macdonald as the troubled DCI Joanne Davidson.

Its viewership has grown over time and the show was moved from BBC Two to a prime slot on BBC One for its fourth series. Last Sunday’s episode pulled in an audience of more than 13million.

This sixth series of Line Of Duty was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Filming took place in Northern Ireland.

Mercurio is also responsible for series including The Grimleys, Strike Back, and Invasion: Earth and his books include Bodies, The Ascent, American Adulterer and The Penguin Expedition.

Obsessed with… Line of Duty, BBC Sounds: Inside the Briefing Room feat Jed Mercurio available now

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