Adelayo Adedayo in The Responder

The Responder: the BBC has a new high-octane crime drama coming this week – here’s what to expect

Posted by for TV

The Responder stars Martin Freeman and Adelayo Adedayo as urgent response officers on the streets of Liverpool.

If there’s one thing the BBC is particularly good at, it’s giving us high-octane crime dramas to sink our teeth into. 

From its compelling, hard-hitting adaptation of You Don’t Know Me to the heights of Line Of Duty, the channel is known for producing some of the best crime dramas in the business.

Enter The Responder – the channel’s latest crime drama which is set to hit screens this week (Monday 24 January, to be exact).  

The five-part series – which comes from the mind of ex-police officer Tony Schumacher – stars Martin Freeman as a “crisis-stricken, morally compromised” urgent response officer called Chris.

It’s set to be a tense watch, and if the trailer’s anything to go by, it isn’t one you’re going to want to miss. Keep reading to find out more about what you can expect from The Responder

What is The Responder about?

The Responder centres around the story of Chris Carson (Freeman), who works night shifts as an urgent response officer in and around Liverpool.

Described as a series which “holds a mirror up to the emotional extremes of life on the front line of British policing – sometimes darkly funny, sometimes painfully tragic, always challenging,” we follow Chris over the course of five shifts, at a time when he’s struggling “both personally and professionally”.

Confronted with the task of taking on a new rookie partner called Rachel (played by The Capture’s Adelayo Adedayo), the pair discover that “survival in this high pressure, relentless, night-time world will depend on them either helping or destroying each other”.  

Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman as Chris in The Responder.

Who stars in The Responder?

The Responder’s cast is a mix of seasoned TV actors and exciting newcomers.

Alongside Freeman and Adedayo, the series will also star Ian Hart (The Last Kingdom), MyAnna Burling (The Salisbury Poisonings) and Kerrie Hayes (The Mill).

Warren Brown (Luther), David Bradley (Afterlife) and Rita Tushingham (Ridley Road) will also take on roles alongside newcomers Josh Finan and Emily Fairn.

Is there a trailer for The Responder?

Yes – and it gives us a glimpse at the kind of personal and professional struggles Chris will be facing throughout the series. You can watch the full clip below: 

What has been said about The Responder?

Speaking in an interview with the BBC ahead of the series’ release, The Responder’s creator Tony Schumacher spoke about the mental health struggles Chris’ character faces throughout the series – and why it was so important to him to write that aspect into the script.

The Responder doesn’t just focus on the physical darkness of working at night; it also looks at Chris’ own struggle with his mental darkness,” he explained. 

“He feels like he has a black hole inside of him, burning its way right out of his forehead. Martin really does such great work with the fear of hopelessness and helplessness that comes from having that sense of darkness inside.”

He continued: “When I wrote that element in the script it was like having paid therapy, because it was in me. I got to write it down on the page and see Martin play it out on screen.”

When and where will The Responder be released?

The first episode of The Responder airs on BBC One on Monday 24 January at 9pm, with the second episode available to watch on Tuesday. The final three episodes will air on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

All five episodes will also be available to watch on BBC iPlayer after the first episode airs. 

Sign up for the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you don't miss out on the conversation.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Images: BBC

Share this article

Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.