Interview: Stephen Graham discusses his role in BBC One's Line of Duty.
Written and created by Jed Mercurio and made by World Productions for BBC One, Line of Duty continues this Sunday on BBC One.
When three police officers are shot dead during the hijack of a seized drugs transport, AC-12 move in to investigate possible police collusion.
Stephen Graham joins the series as John Corbett, the ruthless leader of an Organised Crime Group (OCG), who hijack a seized drugs transport.
AC-12 investigators Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), Detective Inspector Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) suspect corrupt police officers of leaking information.
As the body count rises, AC-12 realise they’re facing their most vicious adversary yet.
Stephen Graham tells us more…
Why did you want to be part of Line of Duty?
Because I watch it and my mates are in it. Who wouldn’t want to go out and play with their mates?
Jed approached you for the series. What did he say to you during the first phone call? I take it you didn’t need any convincing?
No not at all. I’m a fan of the show anyway; I’ve watched it from the beginning. It was really nice, he just phoned me and said: “I’m writing this character which I think you’d be great for, I’d like you to have a look at it, it would be a pleasure to work with you, I like your stuff and I’m a fan of your work and it would be really nice to have you on board and become a member of the family.” Which was a lovely thing for someone to say, a writer of his calibre and somebody who I admire as a writer and a creator.
To say that they had me in mind when they were writing it is a hell of a compliment. So it was a no brainer. I said: “Yeah sure, I’d love to!” I was already doing it, even if I was only in five pages! But I read it and I thought even in the first four or five pages that I could see me doing this, this is juicy.
You lived in Belfast for the series, with some of your oldest industry friends. Did you have chance to spend time with them outside of filming?
Of course, we went for quite a few dinners which were nice after a hard days graft. We spent quite a lot of time together; we went over lines, we went through scenes together a lot, whether it was at my house or one of their houses. We went to the gym quite a few times together. Every opportunity we got we went out and about looking around - it was really nice! They showed me a few nice restaurants, predominantly curries, because Jed loves an Indian, so we spent a lot of time in a curry house! It was really lovely. I’ve worked in Belfast a couple of times, it’s a beautiful city and I love the people there, they’re really friendly and very welcoming.
You’re a part of some big action sequences - are they fun to do?
Of course, yeah! As a kid we used to play army and would run round the garden. Now, roll on 45, I’ve got an M16 in my hand and been told: “Here’s a load of ammunition, you’re not going to hurt anyone, just point it over there, don’t point it directly at each other, and shoot!” It’s a lot of fun jumping out of cars, shooting guns and rolling around on the grass and everything - it’s brilliant! It’s very exciting.
Were there any memorable moments on set?
Rochenda, Tomi (May) and I used to have a lot of fun on set, and John our director, he’s a bit of a champ. There was one bit when we’d just committed a robbery and we shot off, and we were actually driving through the streets of Belfast with our balaclavas and machine guns in the car and we realised we'd better get back to set! So that was quite funny, but wouldn’t have been too funny if people had seen! It was all a lot of fun; it was a lovely environment to work in.
Line of Duty continues Sundays at 9pm on BBC One.