Paranoid is the ma­jor ITV con­spir­acy thriller about a hor­rific mur­der case where the cops sud­denly re­alise they’re be­ing watched. Hus­tle star Robert Glenis­ter, who plays de­tec­tive Bobby Day in the se­ries, dis­cusses panic at­tacks and real-life po­lice train


Would you be up for a sec­ond se­ries?

It was orig­i­nally sold to me as a self­con­tained, eight-part se­ries. But they said that about Broad­church. We all worked to­gether, in the knowl­edge that we were mak­ing some­thing out of the or­di­nary. I had an ab­so­lute ball work­ing on Paranoid. So I’d be very happy to do it again.

What first drew you to Paranoid?

It’s a real page-turner. When I read it, I didn’t nec­es­sar­ily know which way it would go. It starts off as one thing and be­comes some­thing very, very dif­fer­ent. It’s very un­set­tling and I knew it wouldn’t be a com­mon or gar­den po­lice pro­ce­dural. It’s go­ing to make peo­ple think and want to watch the next episode.

Can you tell us about the de­tec­tive you play, Bobby Day?

What I like is that Bobby is al­ready in cri­sis when we meet him. Within the first five min­utes, you see that he is flawed. He’s com­ing up to retirement but is wor­ried be­cause he has noth­ing else in his life. He is very scared. The chal­lenge as an ac­tor is to do jus­tice to this com­plex char­ac­ter.

What is Day like as an in­ves­ti­ga­tor?

He’s very in­tu­itive. He works for a parochial force in Cheshire, and they have never en­coun­tered such a hor­rific mur­der be­fore. It’s not some­thing they’re fa­mil­iar with. They’re used to more mun­dane crime. Bobby is very quick. He spots the fact that some­one is watch­ing them. In that height­ened state, his an­ten­nae are far more alert. How do Bobby’s po­lice col­leagues re­act to his be­hav­iour?

He’s gone off-piste and his state of mind alien­ates him from the rest of the unit. He is be­ing treated med­i­cally for panic at­tacks. He has height­ened aware­ness, but that makes him more of a mav­er­ick, and more likely to act on his own. That makes his col­leagues wary. All of that cre­ates ten­sion within his unit.

Have you por­trayed a lot of po­lice of­fi­cers over the years?

In one’s ca­reer, one tends to play a few cop­pers – I’ve played of­fi­cers in The Bill, The Great Train Rob­bery and Sirens. You could ar­gue that some fic­tional de­tec­tives shouldn’t be in the job – look at Gene Hunt, to pluck a name out of the air! [ Philip Glenis­ter is his younger brother.]

Has this role altered your view of the po­lice at all?

No, I’ve al­ways greatly ad­mired what the po­lice do. Of course, you’ll get the odd bad ap­ple in the po­lice – you do every­where. But over­all, the po­lice are a coura­geous, hu­mane or­gan­i­sa­tion. We’d be a lot worse off with­out them. All the po­lice of­fi­cers I’ve come across have had great com­pas­sion – that’s a pre-req­ui­site for the job. It’s not just about nick­ing the bad guys.

Do you know any real po­lice of­fi­cers?

Yes, fun­nily enough, I went to school with some­one who be­came a po­lice officer. When we were 16, we watched a ca­reers talk by a po­lice officer and de­cided to join the po­lice. We both went to the training col­lege in Hen­don but I dropped out be­cause I’d al­ways wanted to be an ac­tor. But he ended up as the head of the Fly­ing Squad.


Les­ley Sharp plays the wit­ness to a mur­der.

Wood­mere’s force are way out of their depth with this in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Paranoid Se­ries 1 is on DVD.

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