“What would happen if you took two people who would not talk to each other on the street and threw them together?” This was the premise for new ITV detective drama McDonald & Dodds, according to its creator, Robert Murphy.
He was talking after an exclusive RTS West of England screening of the show in Bath at the end of February.
The series pairs Jason Watkins as the diffident Bath-born-and-bred DS Dodds and his ambitious boss, DCI McDonald, who has transferred from south London to further her career. She is played by Tala Gouveia.
“It was always going to be Bath. Cop shows are often set in stations. It was important for Dodds, as a different kind of cop, to be out in the field,” said Murphy, who wrote both feature-length episodes, which aired on ITV in March.
“You want to root the thing in the place where you’re setting it, and Bath’s architecture feels like a world apart. It reflects the puzzles the detectives face in the show,” added the writer, who has also penned episodes of Shetland and DCI Banks.
Watkins, who recently played Prime Minister Harold Wilson in The Crown, used an accent coach to prepare for the part.
“Characters are amalgamations of people you know. I knew very quickly who he was. I relished the opportunity to play this guy who doesn’t speak very loudly, but you never quite know where he is or what’s going to happen next,” he said.
Discussing Watkins’ co- star, Tala Gouveia, executive producer Damien Timmer said: “McDonald needed strength and funny bones. Tala had both that poise and the comedy.”
Turning to the long-term plans for the show, Timmer, a co-founder of Mammoth Screen, which made the series, said: “The thought was always that there would be legs for it. How many legs, we do not yet know.”
The event was chaired by Fiona Francombe, studio director of The Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol.
McDonald & Dodds was filmed at the studios and on location in the West Country.