We were lucky enough to get on the set of Line Of Duty, the BBC police drama that’s just returned to our screens, when it was being filmed at Methodist College last summer.

Such is the secrecy involved with a high profile BBC show, only now are we allowed to publish our account of our day on set.

JESSIKAH HOPE STENSON reports…

In June 2015, I made a visit to Methody’s McArthur Hall to see what the cast and crew got up to on an average day. From rehearsal, to listening to the director’s comments, to actually shooting the scenes, the cast are kept busy on a tight schedule. I was lucky enough to sneak a peek at the filming of an awards ceremony for the upcoming third series.

To make the process more bearable for the actors, and higher quality for the viewers, the scene was broken down into small chunks. The crew cleverly used two cameras simultaneously – one for a medium/close shot, and one for a long shot – allowing to get all they need in fewer takes.

Having to spend long days working, sometimes well into the evening, it concerned me that the cast would have to spend long periods in close proximity.
Thankfully, Adrian Dunbar, who plays Police Superintendent Ted Hastings, reassured me that the cast “get on well, there are no tensions”.
Dunbar

Adrian Dunbar

Likewise, Martin Compston, who plays the lead, Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott, spoke of how he loved filming in Belfast. He claimed, “the scripts get better and better ever series, we just deliver what’s one the page. I’m very proud of it.”
Priding itself on authenticity and the realistic nature of police procedures illustrated on the screen, Line Of Duty’s third season is set to be the best so far. If you’ve yet to see the first two, there’s still some time to binge-watch the box sets.

Line Of Duty has captured an audience of millions, fuelling the BBC to commission it for a further two seasons. The show’s storylines centre on an anti-corruption unit within the police force, unravelling shocking secrets of society’s supposedly most trustworthy members.

Creator and writer, Jed Mercurio explained that season three’s investigation will not flow into season four: “Although we got two seasons commissioned, we decided to focus on delivering season three to the best of our ability before turning our attention to season four. We didn’t plan ahead for the first two so it felt best to do one at a time”.

Jed Mercurio

Jed Mercurio

While this work may seem laborious, there’s a sense of real enjoyment from Mercurio and the rest of the team.

Plus, it’s not only this meticulous attention to detail that’s impressive. When shooting the awards ceremony, actors relaxed as the crew hastily did their work and then snapped back into character impressively at the call of “rolling”, demonstrating how the set is a wide-scale operation optimised through years of practice.

In terms of the future for Line Of Duty, Mercurio didn’t hesitate before saying, “I’m very grateful that the audience responded to it. The first series did very well and the second series got written and talked about a huge amount. I was delighted. I’m going to stick with it as long as the BBC keep commissioning it and as long as people watch it. I really don’t want it to end.”

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