Vicky McClure on Line Of Duty nicknames and playing pranks on set

Dusty Baxter-Wright
·5-min read
Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images
Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Line Of Duty is in its sixth series, and thanks to the brilliant cast, high intensity storylines and multiple twists and turns, it's not hard to see why it's so popular. When we caught up with Vicky McClure ahead of the BBC show's new series, she chatted AC-12, pulling pranks on set and having great hair.

Do the Line Of Duty cast have nicknames for each other?

We have loads, but calling each other ‘29’ has stuck since day one. Neil Morrissey [who played DC Nigel Morton] asked me what the time was, and I just said ‘29’ and now it’s how we all refer to each other. It’s probably a ‘you had to be there moment.’

Do you ever pull pranks on each other on set?

Martin Compston [who plays DS Steve Arnott] and I are always trying to make each other jump. The annoying thing is he’s really good at it, and I’m really crap at it. But we have also got Adrian Dunbar [who plays superintendent Ted Hastings] and [the show's creator] Jed Mecurio in the past.

Photo credit: John Phillips - Getty Images
Photo credit: John Phillips - Getty Images

Have you ever had a meeting in an underpass?

I can’t say I have - Kate Fleming’s had enough for both of us. To be fair, they don’t smell great, so I wouldn’t recommend it.

Who's been the most surprising celebrity fan of the show?

We did have The Fonz, aka Henry Winkler, tweet us that he's a fan of the show which was the biggest moment for us all. He's the biggest man on earth! It's gone stateside. And who's cooler than The Fonz? So that's always stuck with me.

Do you think you’d be friends with Kate Fleming in real life?

Yes. Kate’s got a real soft side once you break through the authority she has and the sheer importance of what she does. She’s a mother and a friend with a sensitive soul. And I’d love to find out the police gossip from her!

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

I hate lateness. To me, if you turn up on time, you’re late - if you turn up early, you’re on time. I can’t stand that feeling of panic or feeling rushed - it drives [my partner] Jonny Owen mad because we’re usually at the airport four hours before a flight.

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What’s one thing you always have in your trailer?

I always have a kettle and the amenities to make a good cup of tea. When we finish filming, it’s become a tradition that my trailer is decked out in Christmas decorations, as it’s usually towards the end of the year, so that's always fun.

What’s the best and worst thing about being Vicky McClure?

The best thing is I have the best people around me. The worst thing is I’m an over-thinker - I’ve got quite a vivid imagination so it can run wild.

Do you have a party trick?

I’ve done a lot of dance exams, so that’s my secret talent. From the Line Of Duty TikToks, you wouldn’t know, but I can actually pirouette!

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Stick to your own opinions and feel comfortable with them. There have been times where I’ve been too much of a people pleaser - I’d say I’d seen films in auditions even when I hadn’t, and end up in a pickle. Be honest and don’t be ashamed of who you are.

Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images
Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images

Do you have a dream role?

I’d love to work with Julie Walters or Kathy Burke - they are pure talent for me and I get such a sense of truth when I watch them. They inspire me.

What’s your number one TV recommendation?

Friends. Some of it hasn’t aged well, but generally, it’s something that I’ve watched since such a young age. When I need the TV on in the background, it’s the show I always go for.

Did you keep any of your This Is England wardrobe?

I kept a brown Fred Perry that Lol wore, and I kept the box that Combo made Lol from matchsticks in the film. I’ll never give that away. I wasn’t established as an actress back then, I was still working in an office part-time, so I didn’t even know it was you could keep stuff from set.

Another thing I love is Line Of Duty made us all a coat and it says AC-12 on the arm with a badge.. It says Line Of Duty 6 on it and it’s lovely to have something like that. I won’t be wearing it out!

What’s the secret to your great hair?

Definitely my hair stylist, Louis Byrne! Or I use Sam McKnight and Living Proof products. I wash my hair most days to avoid that annoying ‘flat back’ short hair gets overnight.

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Would you rather have the ability to fly or be invisible?

Fly definitely, because I travel so much. That would change the game for me! I’d love to be able to nip over to my sister’s and fly back, or grab something I’ve forgotten.

Line Of Duty airs on BBC One on Sundays at 9pm and is available on BBC iPlayer.


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