Line of Duty’s Adrian Dunbar in new crime drama ‘Ridley’

Sunday: Ridley - (ITV, 9pm)
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Jesus, Mary and the little donkey – look who’s back on the box.

For Line of Duty fans, Adrian Dunbar will ALWAYS be Superintendent Ted Hastings, the head of the nation’s most famous anti-corruption police unit. But now the Northern Ireland-born actor is about to prove there is life beyond the man with a one-liner for every occasion.

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Dunbar is taking the lead role in a new crime drama, playing DI Alex Ridley who, after 25 years of working on homicide cases, has retired from the police force. He feels he’s been nudged out of the job too early, and isn’t quite ready for a pipe and slippers just yet. So when his former protege, Acting DI Carol Farman, comes calling with an opportunity for him to continue using his undeniable skills and instincts as a detective, he agrees.

Ridley, DI Carol Farman, DCI Paul Goodwin and DC Darren BentonRidley, DI Carol Farman, DCI Paul Goodwin and DC Darren Benton
Ridley, DI Carol Farman, DCI Paul Goodwin and DC Darren Benton

Farman wants Ridley to work as a consultant on her new case, a complex and compelling murder which is about to take a very dark turn indeed.

“Ridley has begun shooting and we really couldn’t be off to a better start,” remarked Dunbar from the set in Lancashire back in January. “Despite the wintry weather, everything from cast and crew right down to the catering is excellent.

“I don’t think I’ve ever headed into a production with more excitement and enthusiasm. As an actor I know how rare it is to be given such a wonderful opportunity, and the combination of Polly Hill and Chloe Tucker at ITV and Jonathan Fisher at West Road Pictures means we are in both safe and creative hands.

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“Jonathan and I worked closely together on the very successful series Blood, and I’m confident we can bring some of that magic to Ridley. Here’s to getting the team together and developing a show that audiences can find both entertaining and engaging.”

Fisher is also one of the co-creators of the series alongside writer Paul Matthew Thompson, whose previous work includes episodes of another ITV crime hit, Vera; he also created the BBC’s Shakespeare and Hathaway. Their inspiration came not from the similarly themed New Tricks, but from the real life detectives who have rejoined forces in an advisory capacity across the country in an attempt to help ease the stress on over-stretched resources.

“We’re so excited to be teaming up once again with the inimitable Adrian Dunbar, bringing to life Paul Matthew Thompson’s characterful and engaging scripts,” says Fisher. “ITV has a fine tradition of nurturing much-loved detective series, and it’s a real privilege to be bringing Ridley to the channel.”

Thompson agrees, adding: “With his maverick idiosyncrasies, a heart on sleeve empathy and a unique approach to solving crime we hope Ridley will soon join the canon of favourite TV detectives.”

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Dunbar is joined in the cast by Bronagh Waugh, who plays Farman, while Julie Graham, Bhavna Limbachia and Aidan McArdle will also have regular roles.

What’s more, the series features three more cases in which Ridley and Farman’s partnership will prove crucial. As Hastings might say, “now we’re sucking on diesel!”