Line of Duty

Anatomy of a Hit: Line of Duty

The critically acclaimed second series hit our screens in 2014 and realising they had a hit on their hands, the BBC commissioned two more that year. Having become the most popular drama series broadcast on BBC Two in the multi-channel era, Line of Duty made the jump to BBC One.

 With filming for series five underway and fans eagerly anticipating the return of the AC-12 team in 2019, Line of Duty is widely recognised as the decade’s best British drama series.

Working Lives: Casting Director

Line of Duty (Credit: BBC)

What does the job involve?

I have to keep on top of the talent and be knowledgeable about not just their abilities but also where they are in their working lives. 

You need to know when an actor is trying to change their trajectory and doesn’t want to be sent the same scripts. I present my casting ideas to the creative team, usually the director, producer, executive producers and broadcaster.

Do you offer an opinion?

BBC One releases first look at new thriller Vigil

The six-part series stars Suranne Jones (Gentleman Jack), Rose Leslie (Downtown Abbey), Shaun Evans (Endeavour), Martin Compston (Line of Duty) and Paterson Joseph (Peep Show).

Jones and Leslie star as DCI Amy Silva and DS Kirsten Longacre, who lead an investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a Scottish fishing trawler and a death on-board the HMS Vigil submarine.

Ear Candy: Obsessed with… Line of Duty

Everything is cryptic; minor characters from three series ago suddenly pop up on screen; and half of the dialogue is in acronyms. Yet viewers still can’t get enough of Jed Mercurio’s perplexing police procedural.

The series delights in plunging viewers into the darkness as they fumble to their own (often wrong) conclusions. Luckily for us, BBC Sounds’ companion podcast Obsessed with… Line of Duty is on hand to offer illumination.

New series to look out for in 2021

The Serpent

BBC One

Release Date: New Year’s Day


Jenna Coleman as Marie-Andrée Leclerc and Tahir Rahim as Charles Sobhraj (credit: BBC)

The seventies-set international crime thriller The Serpent follows the true story of global efforts to capture Interpol’s most wanted man, the murderer Charles Sobhraj (Tahar Rahim, A Prophet).

Line of Duty will return to BBC One in early 2021

Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Adrian Dunbar in line of Duty (credit: BBC)

Filming for the new series started up again in September and is still ongoing, with Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston reprising their roles as detectives Superintendent Ted Hastings, DI Kate Fleming and DS Steve Arnott.

AC-12, the anti-corruption unit, will be met with a new, inscrutable adversary called DCI Joanne Davidson, played by Kelly Macdonald (Giri/Haji),

The series will pick up a year and a half after the closure of Operation Pear Tree, with Hastings returning to head up the unit after his exoneration at the end of series five.

An accidental career: Jed Mercurio headlines the RTS Midlands Careers Fair

Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio decided he probably should learn to write – after he’d already penned a hit BBC drama series. “I did it backwards,” the former medic told the RTS Midlands Careers Fair 2020.

Mercurio had been a junior doctor working in Birmingham hospitals when he replied to an advert in the British Medical Journal. It had been placed by a production company looking for drama ideas.

Line of Duty stars and Craig David join Gogglebox for Stand Up to Cancer

Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston (credit: Channel 4)

The Line of Duty big guns Ted Hastings, Kate Fleming and Steve Arnott will pause hunting down bent coppers to become experienced channel hoppers, with co-stars Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston joining the show.

Adrian Dunbar commented: “It’s an honour to be part of the esteemed Gogglebox line up especially when it’s raising money for the phenomenal work Stand Up To Cancer do.”