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Coronavirus: Adrian Dunbar worried over safety of mum and care home workers during pandemic


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Adrian Dunbar (PA)

Adrian Dunbar (PA)

Adrian Dunbar (PA)

Adrian Dunbar has spoken of his fears for his mum who has Alzheimer's and lives in a care home here.

The Line Of Duty star, self-isolating at his home in Highgate, north London, said he has taken up gardening to try and occupy his mind and take "the edge off" his lack of exercise.

But he has admitted his hobby is not enough to stop his anxiety about the safety of his former actress mother Pauline (86), being cared for at a care home in his native Northern Ireland.

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Pauline Dunbar, the mother of Adrian Dunbar.

Pauline Dunbar, the mother of Adrian Dunbar.

Pauline Dunbar, the mother of Adrian Dunbar.

The Fermanagh actor (61) said: "I'm worried about her, I'm worried about those care workers, whether they're getting the personal protective equipment and when they're going to get tested - they're frontline workers.

"We can see my mum and talk to her on WhatsApp, so there are positives, but it's a really vulnerable sector and the Government has to swing its focus on to it."

He spoke about his worry for his mum amid outrage over the health department's treatment of Covid-19 cases in care homes in Northern Ireland and across the UK.

Last week it was revealed 56 care homes in the province have been affected by coronavirus. About a third of the 294 deaths in Northern Ireland from Covid-19 so far (96) have occurred in care homes and hospices.

Trade union Unison has called for immediate testing for all care home residents and staff in Northern Ireland.

Adrian said the reality of the coronavirus struck him when filming was abruptly halted in Belfast in mid-March, a month into shooting the sixth season of Line Of Duty.

The shutdown happened when it emerged crew members on Bloodlands - another series being filmed in Northern Ireland - had Covid-19 symptoms.

Adrian added: "That was enough to make people think, 'This might be closer to us than we think', so there was a collective decision to stop.

"It was the right thing to do and we're just hoping everything will pick up again."

Despite Line Of Duty's previous five series being available to binge watch, Adrian warns it would be "too much" for lockdown.

He said: "During lockdown people want something that'll exercise them, a bit of fun is OK, but sometimes you want something that makes you go 'OK! Right!', that you can follow but for just six episodes.

"Not like Line of Duty flogging you to death with all those series."

With his main TV project frozen, Adrian has made a short film of himself reading Seamus Heaney's poem Storm On The Island, which was shared on the late poet's Twitter account at the request of Heaney's daughter Catherine.

"I love Seamus' poetry and they asked me to record something for lockdown," Adrian said.

"Everybody in the arts is trying to think of some kind of response."

Adrian will be back on TV screens tomorrow in Channel 5 show Blood.

It's the second series of the drama, in which he plays Irish small-town doctor Jim Hogan entangled in family secrets.

Belfast Telegraph