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Cuffs: Police officers who feel the rhythm of the beat

Published 24/10/2015

Amanda Abbington plays DS Jo Moffat in Cuffs
Amanda Abbington plays DS Jo Moffat in Cuffs

Forget procedural police dramas, Cuffs is an exciting new look at the day-to-day lives and dramas of British coppers, says the BBC. Keeley Bolger reports for duty with the series' stars to find out more.

It's an arresting sight. On a beach in Shoreham, one police officer, stab vest covered up by an old loose jacket, trills Barry Manilow's Copacabana - much to another detective's delight. Over to his left, a group of his younger colleagues sign the words "seaside cops" with their hands.

Not typical cop behaviour, perhaps, but then these aren't real cops. They are the stars of Cuffs, a new BBC One police drama.

After a busy shoot in and around Brighton, the cast is approaching the end of their time working together. There's a definite party atmosphere in the ranks, with plenty of teasing, singing and practising moody stares into the distance for the photo shoot.

The BBC's first new drama commission for an 8pm audience in eight years, the eight-part series comes loaded with big expectations.

Set in Brighton, Cuffs follows the everyday ups and downs of being in the police force, from unearthing a cannabis farm in a suburban semi to prising a shotgun from an elderly farmer's wife.

But who is in the series, and what can they reveal about the show? Before the action unfolds later this month, we examine the evidence ...

SHAUN DOOLEY

Best known for playing Rickie Gillespie in Broadchurch, Dooley - who was the one singing Copacabana earlier - plays "family guy" DC Carl Hawkins.

While there are many police dramas on the block, Dooley reckons there's a good chance Cuffs will stand up.

"It doesn't worry me (if there's competition), because either it will stick and people will love it, or it won't," he explains. "It's about the characters, I think, and what's nice about this one is it's not just us walking around and having a drink problem. You see the cops and the detectives working side by side; you get that mix, which you don't get in your typical cop drama."

AMANDA ABBINGTON

Mr Selfridge actress Amanda Abbington enjoyed playing the conflicted DS Jo Moffat.

"She loves arresting criminals but her home life is a bit of a mess," says the actress. "She's divorced and is having an affair with someone she shouldn't be having an affair with."

Abbington also has her eye on some of the props.

"I'm trying to nick the cuffs and keep the warrant card, so if anyone upsets me when I'm driving, I can pretend I'm a police officer," she jokes.

PAUL READY

Stage actor Paul Ready, who plays introverted DI Felix Kane in Cuffs, is fond of the comic touch in the series.

"There's a gallows humour that comes with being a police officer," explains Ready, who recently starred as Lee in cult series Utopia.

"Having to deal with such terrible things, if you don't laugh about it then you'll pay a heavy price."

PETER SULLIVAN

Chief Supt Robert Vickers is trying to juggle his pressured job, his wife's cancer diagnosis and his 23-year-old son Jake's entry into the force.

Describing his character as a "mystery figure", actor Peter Sullivan - known for his work on the stage - comes prepared for the difficulties in playing someone with a grown-up child. "I think something happens to fathers and sons around Jake's age," says the actor, who has also appeared in The Borgias. "My son is Jake's age and also called Jake."

JACOB IFAN

Cuffs marks Jacob Ifan's first lead TV role - the actor graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama while the series was shooting.

But it's clear Cuffs is no ordinary first job.

"One day we were dancing around the police car listening to something," he recalls, laughing. "You catch members of the public watching these two police officers really going for it."

ASHLEY WALTERS

Former So Solid Crew member and Top Boy actor Ashley Walters plays the "very regimented" PC Ryan Draper.

"Ryan's got a military background and is trying to follow the book all the time," he says. "I guess what he realises is that life isn't like that. It isn't black and white, there are grey areas and you do have to be a human."

ALEX CARTER AND ELEANOR MATSUURA

Spooks actress Eleanor Matsuura and Alex Carter, of Hollyoaks and Emmerdale fame, spent most of their working days together.

"We're supposed to be likeable - but I don't like saying that, in case we're not," says Carter, laughing.

"It's hard to talk about our characters without talking about the other," concurs Matsuura. "We pretty much solve every case together."

  • Cuffs begins on BBC1, Wednesday, 8pm

Belfast Telegraph

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