Line of Duty star Comp­ston did not ex­pect ‘Mid­dle Eng­land’ re­sponse

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By RUS­SELL JACK­SON

Line Of Duty ac­tor Martin Comp­ston said he never imag­ined he would be cast as a lead in a prime­time BBC show.

The ac­tor, who plays De­tec­tive Sergeant Steve Arnott, said he did not think he was some­one “Mid­dle Eng­land would re­spond to” as he was quizzed about his ca­reer along­side the show’s cre­ator, Jed Mer­cu­rio, in Glas­gow.

The pair, cur­rently film­ing the fifth se­ries of the po­lice drama in Belfast, spoke to stu­dents study­ing TV fic­tion writ­ing at Glas­gow Cale­do­nian Univer­sity.

Comp­ston said he was grate­ful to Mer­cu­rio for his role in the hit show, and to film di­rec­tor Ken Loach, who put him on screen for the first time in 2002’s Sweet Six­teen.

The Scot­tish ac­tor said: “I owe my whole ca­reer to Ken Loach, who took a chance on me, and Jed, who put me in front of a wide au­di­ence.

“I never thought I’d be cast as a lead in a prime­time BBC show, I just never thought I’d be some­one Mid­dle Eng­land would re­spond to. For ev­ery great job I’ve had, I’ve had at least 20 or 30 re­jec­tions, so you’ve got to be thick-skinned and you’ve got to en­joy it.”

Speak­ing about film­ing Line Of Duty’s in­ter­ro­ga­tion scenes, he said: “They are like mini one-act plays, you earn your money that day. When the scripts come out the fear is there, and I’m hop­ing I’m not in one, but when you’re not in it, you wish you were. The last one we were do­ing was 28-29 pages - you’re talk­ing 30-minute takes.”

Mer­cu­rio re­called his shock on hear­ing Comp­ston drop­ping the English ac­cent he uses in the show for the first time, off the set.

“Only two things make him break the ac­cent - drink and Celtic when he’s shout­ing at the TV. The first time I heard Martin speak in his nat­u­ral ac­cent was when he was drunk. We had prob­a­bly known each for three or four months at that point.”

Mer­cu­rio also cre­ated Body­guard, the big­gest BBC drama for a decade when it aired ear­lier this year, star­ring Richard Mad­den and Kee­ley Hawes.

He told stu­dents: “Body­guard came from the fact Line Of Duty was on BBC Two.”

Martin Comp­ston says he is grate­ful for the role

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