ON THE EDGE
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.
“THEY HAVE NEVER ENCOUNTERED SUCH A HORRIFIC MURDER”
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.