The Version Interview... Martin Compston on Line of Duty season 3

BBC Two's hugely successful police drama Line of Duty continues and as the climax to the series draws closer, things are about get even more explosive.

Martin Compston tells us more...


What's your take on your character Steve, this series?

Steve’s still the same guy, he’s arrogant and annoying. He’s a lot of fun to play as I try and make him as dislikeable as possible. I think that’s what is great about Jed’s writing and makes it more real, just because Steve’s got a moral centre and is good at his job, it doesn’t actually make him a likeable person. He thinks he’s better than most other people and he wears waistcoats! One of the reasons I wear them and make him talk like a bit of a smart ass is that I knew a guy back home that was like that. He also used to pull these beautiful girls even though no one else could see the redeeming features in him, which is Steve to a tee.

I love playing this character anyway but this series I’ve got to stretch my acting legs even further and that’s been really enjoyable.

How do you learn your lines for the interrogation scenes?

We’ve become known for these long interview scenes which are a fantastic bit of the show but they are definitely a challenge! It’s very brave for television, for some much to take place around one table, but Jed’s writing makes it so exciting. But they are tough!

How do you prepare for the role?

The accent is a big thing for me as it needs to be good and not at all noticeable. I try and stay in it all day because my normal accent is strongly Scottish and going from that to Steve’s is a big jump, but it’s quite tiring! We’re so dialogue heavy that there’s no room for error but people forget that your mind is working when you’re constantly doing an accent.

Why do you think Line Of Duty has been so successful?

The main thing is the scripts. I don’t know how Jed does it but they keep getting better and better. We’ve also found a niche by flipping the ‘police show’ genre. A lot of shows feature maverick cops breaking the rules, but our show is all about the rules. Everything is done by the book. For example I love the tape sound at the start of the interviews. Every other show would cut that out, but we use it and it’s a great tension builder. It’s like the bell before a boxing match. Jed has made sure to include all that minute detail, for example the police always have to have their IDs on them, which is why in the show you never see anyone in the office without a lanyard on.

Catch up with the series via BBC iPlayer.

The Version