Tom Burke and Hol­l­i­day Grainger play a de­tec­tive duo in a tense crime drama based on JK rowl­ing’s best-sell­ing nov­els

TV Times - - Contents - Caren Clark

Sun & Mon / BBC1 I’m not sur­prised the Beeb asked to adapt JK Rowl­ing’s Co­moran Strike de­tec­tive nov­els, writ­ten un­der the name of Robert Gal­braith, as soon as the first story was pub­lished in 2013. Four years on, the drama – star­ring Tom Burke as pri­vate eye Strike and Hol­l­i­day Grainger as his side­kick (both right) – has to be one of 2017’s most an­tic­i­pated dra­mas…

Strike: The Cuckoo’s Call­ing sun & Mon / bbc1 / 9.05pm & 9.00pm

He may not be a marvel at Quid­ditch, but JK rowl­ing’s shrewd but di­shev­elled pri­vate eye Cor­moran Strike is every bit as com­pelling as her boy wizard, Harry Pot­ter.

Strike is the hero of a se­ries of best-sell­ing nov­els writ­ten un­der the pen name of Robert Gal­braith and now The Mus­ke­teers star

Tom Burke is bring­ing him to life in BBC1 drama Strike.

The first story, The Cuckoo’s Call­ing, will be fol­lowed by The Silk­worm, with another tale,

Ca­reer of Evil, air­ing early next year.

Clad in a tweed over­coat with a cig­a­rette or stodgy food in his mouth and a pint of beer in his hand, cash­strapped Strike has a tatty of­fice in Lon­don’s Den­mark Street.

The psy­cho­log­i­cally and phys­i­cally dam­aged war vet­eran wears a pros­thetic leg af­ter be­ing in­jured in Afghanistan as a Royal Mil­i­tary Po­lice­man. He also has a com­plex pri­vate life, as he’s camp­ing out in his of­fice af­ter break­ing up with his fi­ancée and is es­tranged from his rock-star fa­ther.

‘I heard Chris Evans de­scribe him on the ra­dio as a cross be­tween Cracker and Columbo and I like that!’ laughs Tom, 36, as TV Times joins him dur­ing a break in film­ing at a west Lon­don stu­dio.

‘Strike’s a huge man, so I started lift­ing heavy things and eat­ing more to bulk up. He’s ac­tu­ally quite frag­ile, though. He’s had this ex­otic, weird child­hood and is very gruff, but he has real heart, warmth and wit, and is also a grafter.’

When keen young of­fice temp Robin El­la­cott (Hol­l­i­day Grainger) ar­rives in Strike’s chaotic world, the spir­ited sec­re­tary soon or­gan­ises his of­fice into some sort of or­der.

‘Some­one told me there’s a lot of JK Rowl­ing in Robin but when I read it, I thought, “She’s just like me”. Every woman I’ve spo­ken to says the same be­cause she has all the like­able qual­i­ties that you to have for your­self: she’s brave, in­tel­li­gent and com­pas­sion­ate,’ says Hol­l­i­day, 29, as she joins us.

Robin also has a flair for de­tec­tive work as she helps re­search their first case, which cen­tres on a su­per­model (Elar­ica John­son), found dead af­ter fall­ing from her May­fair pen­t­house.

‘Strike finds Robin in­valu­able be­cause she is prac­ti­cal and driven,’ says Hol­l­i­day, who found fame in Where the Heart Is be­fore star­ring in The Bor­gias and Lady Chat­ter­ley’s Lover. ‘She al­ways wanted to be an in­ves­ti­ga­tor and she has an ap­ti­tude for it, but he never pa­tro­n­ises her.

It’s not about two pol­ished de­tec­tives, it’s about a dam­aged, in­ter­est­ing man and a young woman learn­ing her craft. They’re find­ing out about each other.’

As the se­ries con­tin­ues, a strong bond of friend­ship de­vel­ops be­tween Robin and her boss but, even though Robin is en­gaged to fi­ancé Matt, could it be­come some­thing more?

‘For Robin and Strike, it’s al­ways there, un­der­neath every­thing,’ says Tom. Strike is sur­rounded by evil peo­ple and Robin is the op­po­site be­cause she is gen­er­ous, giv­ing and in­sight­ful – the per­fect woman for him, but it’s in­con­ve­nient.’

Por­tray­ing Strike’s dis­abil­ity was the big­gest chal­lenge for Tom. The drama has used a body dou­ble and CGI to con­vey Strike’s miss­ing leg, while the ac­tor has also had to adapt the way he walks.

‘I worked with a move­ment coach and chat­ted to my body dou­ble Mark and our ad­vi­sor Bar­ney, who have the same in­jury as Strike. I spent a day go­ing up and down stairs and sit­ting and stand­ing. You barely see a limp when he is walk­ing but, if he climbs or runs, he’s re­ally in pain.’

Tom and Hol­l­i­day were keen to sat­isfy fans of the books, who have taken the char­ac­ters to their hearts.

‘I went to a wed­ding and so many women came up ex­cited that I was play­ing Robin be­cause they love her, so I feel the pres­sure and I hope I’ve done her jus­tice,’ says Hol­l­i­day, who was also keen for ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer JK Rowl­ing to ap­prove her take.

‘The fact she hasn’t said any­thing neg­a­tive is the big­gest com­pli­ment! I was a mas­sive Harry Pot­ter geek and when I met her in the toi­let at the first script readthrough, I was thrilled that the per­son who flushed the chain at the same time as me was JK Rowl­ing!’

It’s about a dam­aged, in­ter­est­ing man and a young woman learn­ing her craft Hol­l­i­day Grainger

drama / 9.05pm / BBC1

He’s made his name play­ing dash­ing sol­diers in War & Peace and The Mus­ke­teers and now Tom Burke is steal­ing the show again as a rather scruffier mil­i­tary man. In this grip­ping se­ries based on nov­els by JK Rowl­ing, Tom is Cor­moran Strike, an army vet­eran now work­ing as a pri­vate de­tec­tive in Lon­don. Although Strike gets off to an in­aus­pi­cious start with of­fice temp Robin (Hol­l­i­day Grainger), the pair are soon putting their heads to­gether to look into the mys­te­ri­ous death of a top fash­ion model. Look out for Martin Shaw as the vic­tim’s un­pleas­ant un­cle who threat­ens Strike but may come to re­alise he has messed with the wrong man… Con­tin­ues to­mor­row.

Strike in­ves­ti­gates the death of model Lula Landry (elar­ica John­son) JK rowl­ing says she’s wanted to write crime nov­els for years Tom Burke film­ing on lo­ca­tion out­side Strike’s den­mark Street of­fices

Tom Burke as JK Rowl­ing’s Cor­moran Strike

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