Line Of Duty star Vicky McClure appears in this week’s Stylist magazine to talk about filming the show that everyone is talking about.
9.6 million people watched the opening episode of Line Of Duty when it launched eight days ago. Which amounts to almost one in six of the population with one question (or at least one): is this the season we finally find out who H is?
But while we’d pay good money to get a definitive answer on the identity of the final corrupt officer in the police force (well, we think there’s one more…), Vicky McClure, who appears on the cover of this week’s Stylist magazine (which you can download on the App Store or Google Play) says unlike many of the officers in the BBC drama, she cannot be bought.
“I’ve never been offered anything to reveal H’s identity,” laughs McClure “And they’d be idiotic to try. Even my friends and family don’t want to know [spoilers]. I was watching the first episode [of series six] the other day on my laptop [before it came out on the BBC]. And Jonny [her fiancé] came in. He just went, “I don’t want to know.” It was there, right in front of him, but he didn’t want to know, because people just want to enjoy this escapism that’s about to come.” Oh to have that self-control.
Series six of the show has seen two new arrivals to the Line Of Duty family and they are settling in well. DC Chloe Bishop (Shalom Brune-Franklin) joins DI Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) in investigating the latest case of bent coppers in the force. While this series’ guest star (following on from Keeley Hawes, Thandie Newton and Stephen Graham) is Kelly Macdonald as the possibly untrustworthy DCI Joanne Davidson.
Did McClure have any advice for the newest recruit? “It is daunting, and I did say that to Kelly – we all did individually. When it comes to giving the regs or trying to find that jargon, we do have slightly more experience but you’ve just got to work as hard as you can to make sure it’s in your head.”
That said, she admits it’s not always easy to remember all those acronyms and technical language. “We all slip up, everybody has little brain farts. That’s completely normal. We’re all knackered and filming through a pandemic is quite tricky. But we got through it.”
The show was filmed during the Covid lockdown, meaning McClure spent three long months away from Jonny while on set in Belfast. But the bond with her work colleagues helped: “We have a really strong friendship,” she smiles. “It was scary, and you keep hoping you won’t be the one to bring things down. But I kept thinking to myself: we don’t go anywhere. The pubs are shut, the restaurants are shut, there is nothing to do. We’re literally going from work to home. It’s Groundhog Day, in some ways, but when we were at work, we had a lovely time.”
The pubs being shut might have had one advantage: helping co-star Martin Compston stay in his London accent, rather than his natural Scottish one. “Martin always kicks into his accent after the first read-through, and then stays in it for the entire shoot,” she reveals. “It only tapers off if we go for a few beers or if he’s on the phone to his family in Scotland.”
While Line Of Duty is helping many of us get through the (hopefully) last few weeks of lockdown, McClure has been just reliant on her own TV. “If someone’s saying: ‘Oh, my god you have to watch It’s A Sin, I have to watch It’s a Sin’. And once I’m into something I need to binge it. I recently watched The Crown; I’m years out, but for some reason I wasn’t bothered and thought I didn’t have the time. And then I had plenty of time… I enjoyed it and with everything going on now [with the royal family] it’s even more fascinating.”
Just as fascinating as what will happen in the next head-bending episode of Line Of Duty.
Read Vicky’s interview in this week’s issue of Stylist where she talks about the pressures of filming the show, why she never wants to leave the drama and postponing her wedding because of Covid-19.