Line of Duty season 6: 'It's going to break the internet!'

Jen Crothers
·6-min read
Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

From Good Housekeeping

It's almost the moment we've all been waiting for - the return of Line of Duty.

In just a matter of days, Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure), DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) will be back cracking open the cases of bent coppers, and ostensibly saving 2021 too.

This time around they're joined by Kelly Macdonald as DCI Joanne Davidson, and new AC12 recruit DC Bishop, played by Shalome Brune-Franklin.

Here's what we discovered about the new series in a Q&A with the cast and writers earlier this month...

It's going to break the internet

Line of Duty executive producer Simon Heath was asked if there was a moment in season six that he thought would break the internet. He replied, "Yes, I do." Crikey. There we have it.

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Watching the trailer was intense for EVERYONE

It’s not just us who were blown away by the series six teaser when it dropped earlier this month. The main characters were too. "When I saw the trailer the other day, it was quite a shock to me," explains Adrian.

"Suddenly, I saw the whole storyline compressed. Because we'd taken so long to do it, and because we're not all as actors in possession of all the elements. Once you see it all put together you go, ‘God, this really is going to be something else'. And there was quite a lot that had slipped my mind, let's put it like that…"

Filming was different

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Producers had to change filming schedules and the set was made COVID safe. It meant a new interrogation room for AC12 to quiz officers (one rank below, of course), as Vicky explains.

"We built a set so that we have ventilation. The AC12 interview room, for instance, is you not great for COVID in a glass contained box. So as much as we used the original set for other things, for the main body of it we used a set. You genuinely can't tell the difference."

Martin Compston ate soup for a fortnight

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

During the break in filming, Martin went back to his home in the US and found his suits were a bit snug on his return.

“I think he was being slightly dramatic!” says Vicky. “He chilled out as we all did. He had to self isolate for two weeks because he was coming over from Vegas, so production got him a bike for his flat and apparently he just ate soup for two weeks. He said he tried on his suits, and they were a bit tighter than usual. “

The cast learned acronyms with a little help from hair and makeup

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Newcomer Kelly had to get to grips with those Line of Duty acronyms, but revealed there’s a way to help commit those tricky letter sequences to memory.

"There would be certain acronyms that we would discuss at the time," she says. "In hair and makeup, they had a list pinned up, which was quite helpful, I found, of all the acronyms and what everything stood for. I'm not brilliant at [remembering them], but I sort of get by."

Vicky's really into all the conspiracy theories

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

After six seasons in the show, Vicky says she's used to having to keep the plot secret. That said, she loves the fan theories - especially after the series six trailer dropped earlier this month.

"I've had a lot of fun looking through people's comments," she laughs. "My God, the stuff they pick up, and they find and they run with. Whether it's right or wrong, I love it. I think it's fascinating.

"In terms of friends and family, they're not going to get anything out of me and they don't want to. If my mum pressed me to the point where I was going to be in trouble, I still don't think I'd tell her because she genuinely wouldn't want to know. The minute you go, 'Alright, I'll tell you', they go, 'No no no! I don't want to!"

The cast watch it week by week just like we do

Sad that Line of Duty isn't being dumped on iPlayer in one go? Fair enough. But it turns out we’re all in the same boat. "We do tend to watch it like the audience," says Adrian. "We do tend to watch it in real time, because it's such a collective experience watching the show. It’s great to sit back with everybody else and watch it in real time."

Superintendent Ted Hastings has a new phrase

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

It's 'Houl yer whisht!', which means shut up/be quiet... you get the idea. Adrian's delighted that his phrases and Northern Irish-isms have taken on a life of their own - and even the Ted Hastings drinking games: "You can do all kinds of things with the 'fellas' and the 'mother of gods' and that sort of stuff."

He also explained the touching reason why his character uses 'Mother of God' so much: "My dad used to say this all the time, so it's a kind of a little nod towards him."

No character is safe

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Would creator Jed Mercurio kill off the 'golden trio' of Ted, Steve or Kate? Maybe.

"It's never far from my thoughts," he says. 'Honestly. We all get on brilliantly, but everybody knows that we're serving something bigger than ourselves, which is line of duty.

"One of the things about the show is that nobody's safe. It's what keeps the audience on the edge of their seat. So I know that it would be a sad day, but I think all the main cast realise that it's possible. We're mates, we talk about it, we joke about it, and it's something that no one would relish, but everybody would understand."

People kept asking Kelly if she was H

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

She wanted to mess with her mates' heads a bit: "I had just started watching it when my friends were ridiculously excited and screaming in my face 'Was I H?' I didn't know what it meant. I wear a K round my neck, so I was thinking, I should get one that's got an H on it just to mess with them."

Line of Duty series six begins on BBC One, Sunday 21 March at 9pm

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