What lies Be­neath...

TV Times - - Interview - Emma Bul­limore

When you see Robert Glenis­ter and Les­ley Sharp’s names on the cast list for a new crime series, you know it’s go­ing to be spe­cial. Their names are syn­ony­mous with cap­ti­vat­ing drama.

Sure enough, Robert, 56, as­sures us that new eight-part ITV thriller Para­noid is head and shoul­ders above the usual po­lice pro­ce­du­rals.

‘It starts off as a fairly generic crime series, about a bru­tal but seem­ingly do­mes­tic in­ci­dent in a sleepy Cheshire town,’ he tells

TV Times as we chat to him on set.

‘Then it be­comes some­thing much big­ger. All of a sud­den the case goes global and the Ger­man au­thor­i­ties get in­volved. For the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers, it be­comes the chal­lenge of their lives.’

The for­mer Hus­tle and Spooks star plays Bobby Day, a de­tec­tive in­ves­ti­gat­ing the shock­ing mur­der of a GP, killed while in­no­cently push­ing her child on the swings in a play­ground. The crime is wit­nessed by gar­den cen­tre owner Lucy Can­non­bury, played by

Les­ley Sharp, a sus­pi­ciously per­fect wit­ness who seems to re­mem­ber ev­ery de­tail rather too clearly.

‘Para­noid is about a group of char­ac­ters in free fall,’ says Les­ley, 56. ‘Lucy def­i­nitely has a past, but you don’t find out about it un­til quite a way into the story. What tran­spires is re­ally un­ex­pected.

‘On the sur­face she deals with the world in a very whole­some, con­sid­ered, calm way, but there’s some­thing hid­den about her. It’s fan­tas­tic to play a woman mak­ing choices about her own life, and all of the fe­male char­ac­ters in this series are ab­so­lutely di­a­mond. Lucy is also there to of­fer a new per­spec­tive to

Robert Glenis­ter and Les­ley Sharp on star­ring in a new crime thriller where noth­ing is quite as it seems…

Prime Sus­pect

both Bobby and the au­di­ence.’

The case ini­tially seems cut and dried, with a prime sus­pect easy to iden­tify and track down. Then Bobby dis­cov­ers a mys­te­ri­ous ‘ghost de­tec­tive’ is ap­proach­ing wit­nesses and mak­ing his own en­quiries.

‘This other de­tec­tive starts send­ing them clues and bits of in­for­ma­tion,’ re­veals Robert. ‘Bobby doesn’t un­der­stand why. It re­ally con­fuses him, es­pe­cially be­cause he’s not in the best state of mind – he’s suf­fer­ing from de­pres­sion and it gets worse through­out the series.’

Bobby has to man­age his own anx­i­eties on top of his pro­fes­sional re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, mak­ing him ex­tremely sen­si­tive to the chal­lenges of this in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

‘He suf­fers from panic at­tacks, and the pres­sure he’s un­der at work makes it worse,’ adds Robert.

‘I’ve had to film hun­dreds of at­tacks for this role. One time we were shoot­ing at An­der­ton Boat Lift, an ex­tra­or­di­nary, very high struc­ture be­tween the River Weaver and the Trent and Mersey Canal in Cheshire. We were there all night in the freez­ing cold, so ac­tu­ally per­form­ing panic at­tacks in that sce­nario wasn’t so dif­fi­cult!’

early in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Bobby finds him­self drawn to Lucy, who is a Quaker and tries to sup­port him through his anx­i­ety.

‘He’s been on his own for quite a long time and sud­denly she of­fers him some­thing that no­body else can, which is a sense of tran­quil­lity and peace – it’s a com­pletely dif­fer­ent take on life,’ says Robert.

‘I think he knows it’s dan­ger­ous to get in­volved with a wit­ness, but there’s no sex­ual re­la­tion­ship be­tween them – it’s purely talk­ing and spend­ing time to­gether. Some­how, in his head, the fact that she’s a Quaker makes it all right.’

For Les­ley, who re­cently starred in the fi­nal series of de­tec­tive drama Scott & Bai­ley, play­ing a Quaker was a wel­come op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore a re­flec­tive, in­trigu­ing way of life.

‘I was in Corn­wall, vis­it­ing some of the beau­ti­ful Quaker houses there, and by com­plete co­in­ci­dence I re­ceived the phone call about Para­noid – I couldn’t be­lieve it!’

‘Quak­erism is one of the roots of our mod­ern con­cept of mind­ful­ness. It’s about be­ing still and at one with your thoughts, not be­ing hasty or judge­men­tal. It means tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for the way you act, all of which seems in­creas­ingly rel­e­vant to the world we’re liv­ing in.’

the seem­ingly straight­for­ward mur­der case has un­ex­pect­edly com­plex roots, and Bobby is forced to li­aise with po­lice in other coun­tries, in­clud­ing Ger­many.

‘He ends up go­ing out there on his own and then the rest of the team join him,’ says Robert. ‘We’re film­ing in Cologne and Dus­sel­dorf, and I’ve never been to Ger­many be­fore, so I’m look­ing for­ward to it.

Para­noid is a re­union for

Robert and Les­ley, who have been great friends for decades.

‘I love work­ing with Robert,’ she says. ‘He’s an ab­so­lutely de­light­ful man, as well as a won­der­ful ac­tor.’

‘We live about 10 min­utes down the road from each other and we’ve been friends for more than 30 years, so it was a real bonus for me that Les­ley agreed to be in the show,’ smiles Robert. ‘The last job we did to­gether was Prime Sus­pect back in the 1990s!

‘We also live near Neil Stuke, who plays my boss in this. He went to drama school with my brother, [Life on Mars star] Phil, and he’s got a farm shop in south Lon­don. I buy loads of pro­duce there, un­til I think, “Hang on a minute,

I’m giv­ing Neil Stuke money!’’’

The last job we did to­gether

was Prime Sus­pect back in the 1990s

robert

New mys­tery thriller Para­noid thurs­day / itv / 9.00Pm

BOBBY Day

Robert Glenis­ter

Se­nior of­fi­cer lead­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. he suf­fers from panic at­tacks and

is strug­gling to cope Lucy can­non­bury Les­ley Sharp the gar­den cen­tre owner and Quaker wit­nesses the mur­der. there’s an air of

mys­tery about her alec Way­field Dino Fetscher the young de­tec­tive is a good friend to Nina, but also deal­ing with

his own dif­fi­cult past

Old pals act: Robert and Les­ley in

nina Suresh

Indira Varma the ca­pa­ble, no non­sense cop­per is dev­as­tated when her boyfriend breaks up

with her out of the blue the Para­noid cops are out to get the killer, but key wit­ness Lucy has dark se­crets of her own Michael niles

Neil Stuke

Bobby’s boss is very driven, more in­ter­ested in re­sults than the team’s

per­sonal prob­lems the case seems to be wrapped up, un­til a ‘ghost de­tec­tive’ haunts the team

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