Belfast Telegraph

Not even my wife knows if Hastings is guilty, says Line of Duty’s Dunbar

Line of Duty’s Enniskillen star refuses to spill the best-kept secret in TV drama

Adrian Dunbar as Superintendent Ted Hastings in Line of Duty
Adrian Dunbar as Superintendent Ted Hastings in Line of Duty
Actor Adrian Dunbar
Ivan Little

By Ivan Little

Line of Duty star Adrian Dunbar says he's aware that thousands of fans of his beleaguered character Superintendent Ted Hastings have launched an internet campaign to clear his name - but the Enniskillen actor revealed that he hasn't even told his wife if he's the mysterious corrupt policeman known as 'H' in the hugely popular TV series.

With just one more episode left in the BBC thriller filmed in Northern Ireland, the finger of suspicion has been turning more and more to Hastings, who has been arrested for questioning on corruption and conspiracy to murder charges, which he's denying.

During a BBC Radio 5 Live interview yesterday, Dunbar ducked and dived as presenter Nihal Arthanayake interrogated him about whether or not Hastings is the baddie at the heart of an organised crime gang.

Dunbar refused to answer the direct question "Is Hastings H?" several times.

There have been suggestions that Hastings may have been linked to the murder of undercover cop John Corbett, played by Stephen Graham, and that the two characters may have had links to each other in their earlier lives in Northern Ireland.

Dunbar gave nothing away on any major lines of inquiry by Arthanayake but the 60-year-old actor did say Hastings wasn't as "pure as the driven snow", having had problems and difficulties with his marriage, with money and with women.

He said that viewers were still convinced that Hastings was going to be cleared of any wrongdoing.

And he added: "I know there's a 'Free Ted' campaign on the go at the moment which is getting a lot of traction."

Dunbar said that he and his wife, the actress Anna Nygh, watch Line of Duty going out live every Sunday night at their home in London.

He added that he feels part of a "large collective experience" and compared it to how millions of viewers watched the Generation Game and the Morecambe and Wise Christmas shows in years gone by.

Ted under arrest for corruption
Ted under arrest for corruption

But he said he didn't tell his wife - or anyone else - about what happens next in Line of Duty.

Dunbar also said when he was in Enniskillen he wasn't worried about giving away secrets if he was having a drink in a pub in his hometown.

"The fans of the show are brilliant. They generally don't want to know. It's only the odd journalist who asks me," he said.

At one point in the interview, Dunbar was asked if he thought Hastings knew how to spell the word 'definitely' which his character mis-spelt as 'definately' in one internet message - a mistake that some viewers said was a significant clue about the identity of the bent policeman.

Dunbar replied: "That's an interesting one. I would love to be able to answer that."

But he didn't.

Dunbar said that he was inundated with calls and messages from friends and family after the credits rolled on every episode but he didn't share anything with them about the twists and turns in the plot.

On a lighter note, Dunbar was asked if he realised that an "army of women on Twitter fancied him".

"I don't see any of that," said Dunbar. "That's something I'm not in control of."

Adrian in Line of Duty with Vicky McClure and Martin Compston
Adrian in Line of Duty with Vicky McClure and Martin Compston

He said his wife Anna didn't need to keep him grounded.

"I'm too long in the tooth to be not down to earth at this point," he added.

Dunbar, however, said that his Line of Duty hairdresser is trying to persuade him to bring out a range of hair products to cash in on his character's much-discussed flowing locks.

The suggested name is Hastings Hair.

Dunbar also revealed that many of the Ulster idioms that Hastings uses in Line of Duty like 'Mother of God', 'fella' and 'now we're sucking diesel' are based on things that his late father used to say in Co Fermanagh.

Dunbar said he was aware of drinking games in pubs where people take a drink every time he comes out with one of his Ulsterisms like "I didn't float up the Lagan in a bubble".

"There are fellas all over the place getting wasted on Line of Duty," he laughed.

Dunbar said he was holding on to more of the phrases but he added cryptically: "Who knows if I will get the chance to do them."

Dunbar said he loved playing Hastings, adding: "I will just do it as long as I can."

Dunbar said he and his co-stars Vicky McClure (DI Kate Fleming) and Martin Compston (DS Steve Arnott) had always been desperate to stay in the good books of the series creator and director Jed Mercurio, who had killed off so many stars of Line of Duty in the past.

"We flatter all the time and tell him how great he is. We take him out for curries and a Cobra beer and so far has it worked," said Dunbar, who spoke in the interview of how he used to play bass guitar with a leading Elvis impersonator, Frank Chisum, back home.

He also said that he'd played a gig last week with musicians John Altman and Mitch Dalton at a jazz venue in Holborn in London, where a member of the audience came up to him afterwards and "gave me an envelope with a load of bent coppers in it".

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