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Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio fears for resumption of series because of coronavirus

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Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar (World Productions/BBC/PA)

Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar (World Productions/BBC/PA)

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Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio (Ian West/PA)

Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio (Ian West/PA)

PA

Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar (World Productions/BBC/PA)

The creator of Belfast-shot police drama Line of Duty has said filming on the series may be unable to resume this year.

Fans of the show had been eagerly awaiting the return of AC-12 to their screens when the Covid-19 outbreak forced the cameras to stop rolling in March.

The cast, including Co Fermanagh born actor Adrian Dunbar who stars as Superintendent Ted Hastings, were four weeks into filming the highly anticipated sixth series when the Belfast operation was plunged into chaos.

Now, writer and producer Jed Mercurio says it may be 2021 before filming can progress.

Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show, he conceded that it is unclear when guidelines will allow the cameras to begin rolling again.

Asked how confident he is that filming will resume this year, Mercurio said: "I think it is still something that's in doubt.

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Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio (Ian West/PA)

Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio (Ian West/PA)

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Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio (Ian West/PA)

"There's a lot we can do within the industry, but until wider society has the public health infrastructure of test, trace and isolate in place it's going to be very hard for anyone.

"We can't make productions in a bubble. The cast and crew will go home, they will come into contact with other people and be interacting with the rest of society."

As well as postponing production, the coronavirus outbreak has the potential to derail the storyline of Line of Duty, which follows the activities of a police anti-corruption unit and features many well known local sights including the Belfast Central Library and St Anne's Cathedral.

Discussions as to whether season six will be adapted and reshot based on the pandemic are ongoing, according to the producer.

"We're all considering that," he said. "We shot for four weeks in a pre-lockdown, pre-Covid world and all that material would have to be reshot if we were going to change things. It's something that has huge cost implications, but we are discussing it."

Meanwhile, actress Vicky McClure said the cast and crew will only return to set when their safety can be ensured.

Vicky stars as DI Kate Fleming in the high-paced police procedural alongside Martin Compston as DS Steve Arnott.

Asked if she is keen to resume her role, she told Andrew Marr: "I am yes, even if it means reshooting what we've already shot.

"Nobody knows how this is going to unfold and we've got to make sure everybody is safe. I feel for a lot of the crew, it is a difficult time when you are out of work so I want to get back just as soon as we can but that's got to be when it's safe."

The star admits that the halt to filming was a tough situation for all involved.

"We were on set and a lot was unfolding and I think we all knew that we weren't far off having to shut down.

"It's a massive blow for everybody, no matter what business you're in."

Belfast Telegraph