TV and Radio

Hope Street series two: we visit the set and speak to cast members old and new

As the BBC's cosy crime series Hope Street returns for a second series of Co Down-shot drama, David Roy visits the set and speaks to cast members new and old about what's in store...

David Roy
Hope Street: Inspector Finn O'Hare (Ciarán McMenamin), Siobhan O'Hare (Rachel Tucker), DC Alistair Quinn (Stephen Hagan). Picture by Jack McGuire


"YEAH – I'm a ghost," jokes actor Ciarán McMenamin when asked whether his character, Inspector Finn O'Hare, is returning for series two of Co Down-shot cosy crime drama Hope Street.

Series one's cliffhanger saw Finn injured in a head-on car crash, with viewers unsure whether he was racing to the airport to declare his feelings for English colleague/love interest Leila (Amara Karan) before she departed Port Devine – a starring role for picturesque Donaghadee – or rushing to the bedside of his estranged, cancer-battling wife, Siobhan (Rachel Tucker).

Fans will be itching to find out the precise outcome of this debacle when Hope Street returns to our screens next Monday, but – without giving away too many spoilers – both the O'Hares are featured in series two, along with a selection of brand new faces whose arrival in Port Devine adds fresh flavour to this seaside hotbed of drama and intrigue.

"Finn and Siobhan's storyline is really complex and grown-up this year," reveals Co Fermanagh-born McMenamin during our flying visit to the Hope Street set to find out more about the new series of this co-commission between BBC Daytime, BBC Northern Ireland and Britbox International.

"It's a really good examination of marriage. Their kids [Niamh and Shay, played by Ellie Lavery and Louis McCartney] are a bit older too and asking all the difficult questions."

"I felt like we've all hit the ground running this series," says Belfast-born Rachel Tucker, whose background was largely in musical theatre – she recently starred in Come From Away on Broadway, having originated the role in London's West End – prior to landing her first big onscreen role as the glamorous Siobhan, Hope Street's resident 'yummy mummy'.

"Last year, I was very much cutting my teeth when it comes to TV. It's a different genre, it takes a different part of your brain – the way I describe it is it's like a different head on my shoulders, a different 'Rachel head'. So I put a lot of pressure on myself to get it 'right'.

"This year, I did find that I was able to think 'stop worrying about what you're meant to do' [for TV] and just act, which is something I've always done. But it's been a lovely challenge for me as an actor."

"She does still sing in-between scenes, though," quips McMenamin of his on-screen wife.

"We've had a really good time on this series and it's been a real challenge in all the right ways, like my storyline – which I'm not allowed to tell you about – it's been a real journey, a really proper acting challenge.

"So I've been loving it. And all the new additions [to the cast] have been brilliant too. Stephen Hagan's come in to play a really amazing complex character. He's been a brilliant addition, a really good element to add to the team down at the police station."

 

DC Alistair Quinn (Stephen Hagan). Picture by Rob Durston

 

Indeed, Greenisland-born Hagan is among the new faces arriving in Port Devine for Hope Street's return: he plays detective DC Alastair Quinn, an old friend of Finn's who is working undercover to bring down a local drug baron.

"It was daunting to begin with, because it's such a big show," comments Hagan.

"The guys had done such a great job on series one and obviously they all knew each other already, so initially it felt a bit 'first day at school'. But everyone's been so welcoming, it feels like a wee family. I felt like I slotted in – they might tell you something different, though.

"My character arrives from Belfast and kind of moulds in with the team that's already in Port Devine."

Two of DC Quinn's new colleagues are returning Hope Street regulars Sergeant Marlene Petticrew and PC Callum McCarthy, played by Kerri Quinn and Niall Wright.

 

PC Callum McCarthy (Niall Wright) and Sergeant Marlene Pettigrew (Kerri Quinn). Picture by Jack McGuire

"It was so exciting to have Stephen come onboard because I'd never met him before," enthuses Belfast-born Quinn.

"The dynamic he's brought into the police station this time has been joyous. We all bounce off each other so well it's just taken things to another level."

"There had been chat towards the end of series one about us coming back [for another series]," reveals Wright, another Belfast-born cast member, "but then to see the reaction to it and the numbers it got, that kind of spoke for itself. It was so lovely to hear that people enjoyed it.

"And it's always nice to go back to something you've done for a second series, because there's been an establishment process that's already happened with the cast and crew – so then you can kind of just take off from where you left off."

Kerri Quinn explains why she's looking forward to reprising her role as the no-nonsense Marlene: "We were so relieved to hear that we were coming back for a second series," she says.

"Marlene was a bit tough and a bit guarded in series one, so it's been nice to see that guard coming down in this series a bit more. We find out a bit more about who she really is.

"We also explore the friendship between Marlene and Nicole [Niamh McGrady] and how loyal she is to Nicole, which has been really lovely to play. There's also the friendships within the police station as well, because obviously Marlene and Finn go way back.

 

Clint Devine-Dunwoody (Aaron McCusker) and Nicole Devine-Dunwoody (Niamh McGrady). Picture by Rob Durston

 

"When DC Quinn arrives in, Marlene's a bit like 'who is he, what is he about?' at first, but then she grows to appreciate him and how good he is at his job. There could be a bit of romance for Marlene this series as well, which shows off her softer side – and there are definitely a few surprises for her along the way."

Of returning home from London to join the Hope Street cast, Stephen Hagan says: "I've done a day [in the north] here and there, but I've never shot at home for an extended period of time before. And it's been amazing.

"We've been out filming around Donaghadee and Millisle and places, and people are genuinely excited to see us shooting the show. Of course, they don't have a clue who I am yet, so I end up helping to take all the selfies with the other guys."

 

Ciarán McMenamin, Kerri Quinn, Stephen Hagan and Niall Wright. Picture by Chris Barr

 

In addition to slotting in alongside the Hope Street regulars, Hagan has many scenes with a fellow new addition to the cast, Leeds-born actor Sade Malone.

"It's been really easy to slot in as a new character," enthuses Malone, who plays rebellious young woman Taylor in the upcoming series and is careful not to give away any spoilers regarding her storylines.

"Taylor's arrival from university in Belfast comes as a bit of a surprise to certain people in Port Devine," she teases.

Malone adds: "Taylor is quite rock and roll, she's pretty cool – she's probably cooler than me. And yes, I'm attempting a Belfast accent. I think I'm doing a pretty good job. It's been really fun to try that again after doing it in [BBC iPlayer series] My Left Nut.

"It's not an easy accent to do but everyone on set has been lovely and telling me it's great. Hopefully the viewers agree."

All will be revealed next week.

:: Hope Street series two starts on BBC One on November 7 at 7pm