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Hope Street series three: we visit the set and find out what viewers can expect

The Hope Street police force, Ryan Power (Finnian Garbutt), Finn O’Hare (Ciarán McMenamin), Marlene Pettigrew (Kerri Quinn), Jo Lipton (Karen Hassan) and Callum McCarthy (Niall Wright)
The Hope Street police force, Ryan Power (Finnian Garbutt), Finn O’Hare (Ciarán McMenamin), Marlene Pettigrew (Kerri Quinn), Jo Lipton (Karen Hassan) and Callum McCarthy (Niall Wright) The Hope Street police force, Ryan Power (Finnian Garbutt), Finn O’Hare (Ciarán McMenamin), Marlene Pettigrew (Kerri Quinn), Jo Lipton (Karen Hassan) and Callum McCarthy (Niall Wright)

Who, where, what, when and why? These are some of the questions being asked by Inspector Finn O’Hare in series three of Hope Street, and it’s not in relation to the latest crime.

Series two ended with Concepta O’Hare (Brid Brennan) revealing to his wife Siobhan (Rachel Tucker) that she wasn’t Finn’s biological father.

After doing a fundraising bungee jump together in the first episode of series three of the cosy crime series, filmed in Co Down, the truth is revealed.  

Finn O’Hare (Ciarán McMenamin) and Concepta O’Hare (Brid Brennan) bungee jump in episode one of the new series of Hope Street
Finn O’Hare (Ciarán McMenamin) and Concepta O’Hare (Brid Brennan) bungee jump in episode one of the new series of Hope Street Finn O’Hare (Ciarán McMenamin) and Concepta O’Hare (Brid Brennan) bungee jump in episode one of the new series of Hope Street

Speaking during a break from filming back in August, Enniskillen-born actor Ciarán McMenamin tells me that his character is in for a “joyous” and “terrifying” journey of discovery.

“It would be a decent enough storyline to find out one of your parents wasn't really your parents, but the whole twist of finding both has been pretty epic.

“It's been a real challenge acting wise - you can't really be a police officer and be crying all the time,” he adds.

Supporting Finn through the upheaval is wife Siobhan. “Siobhan has been a good girl this series and is back with the whole family,” boasts actress Rachel Tucker, who is currently starring in Sunset Boulevard in London’s West End.

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“Finn and Siobhan enjoy this television trick of forgiveness,” laughs Ciarán, alluding to Siobhan’s affair with DC Al Quinn.

“But their relationship has believability about it. You see Siobhan through a whole new positive lens in this series. She’s the person Finn instinctively turns to and helps him through it.

“You get a really good insight into the way this marriage has worked, despite everything that's been thrown at them.”

It wouldn’t be Hope Street without the introduction of a new police detective to shake up the dynamic at the Port Devine police station and this year there are two new recruits.

Detective Constable Jo Lipton is a no-nonsense cop, whom actress Karen Hassan says is going to “cause a lot of havoc”.

She arrives in Port Devine in the middle of an armed prison break and makes a big impression on her new colleagues, especially Constable Callum McCarthy.

“Callum has always been chasing women in authority and this series is no different,” says actor Niall Wright.

“He’s blinded by love at times, but there are a good few intimate moments,” he smiles. 

“Jo has a very modern idea of what dating and commitment is. Niall is like a Labrador,” chuckles Belfast actress, Karen.  

PC Callum McCarthy (Niall Wright) and DC Jo Lipton (Karen Hassan)
PC Callum McCarthy (Niall Wright) and DC Jo Lipton (Karen Hassan) PC Callum McCarthy (Niall Wright) and DC Jo Lipton (Karen Hassan)

Callum’s maturity in the series extends to his responsibilities at work, as he is tasked with mentoring new Constable Ryan Power.

Played by Finnian Garbutt, the young recruit’s eagerness to impress almost ends in disaster – particularly when he jumps on the wrong suspect.

“Ryan is young, eager and really ambitious. He's a really good police officer, but he's also naïve and makes a lot of decisions without necessarily thinking about them the whole way through. I think viewers will really enjoy him.”

Joining the Hope Street cast has been a personal ambition for Finnian, who grew up in Ballyholme, just a few miles from the filming base in Donaghadee.

His achievement is more meaningful as it comes the year after recovering from lifesaving surgery and treatment for malignant melanoma.

“I've watched Hope Street from a hospital bed and didn't know what was going to happen in my future, so to be given this opportunity to have a spot on the show means so much,” adds Finnian, who was grateful for the on-set guidance from a PSNI officer on police protocol.

“I got tips on how to hold myself as a police officer, how to properly use the belt and how to get out of a police car with all your gear on,” he enthuses.  

Each episode of Hope Street features a self-contained crime story as well as following the ups and downs of the locals in the seaside town.

From explosions to a dead body washing up on the beach and the theft of £10,000 in used bank notes, there is plenty of criminal activity for the Hope Street cops to tackle.

Viewers can also look forward to a marriage proposal and plenty of new relationships.

In the series two finale, Nicole and Clint’s dreams of having a child were realised when nephew JJ came to live with them at the Commodore.

Nicole Devine-Dunwoody (Niamh McGrady) and Clint Devine-Dunwoody (Aaron McCusker)
Nicole Devine-Dunwoody (Niamh McGrady) and Clint Devine-Dunwoody (Aaron McCusker) Nicole Devine-Dunwoody (Niamh McGrady) and Clint Devine-Dunwoody (Aaron McCusker)

However, when a fire at the bar sends their lives up in smoke, suspicions are directed towards their nephew. This is the only problem for Divine-Dunwoody’s. 

“There’s more than one thing rocking the boat in terms of their blissful union. There’s a lot of challenges this year and things get complicated romantically,” Niamh McGrady, who plays Nicole, tells me as we chat at a table in The Commodore, aka Pier 36 in Donaghadee.  

Clint (Aaron McCusker) revives his country and western singing career, with disastrous results.

“His song Divine Lady Divine is a geographical Northern Ireland masterpiece. Aaron is sure to be playing music festivals next summer,” jokes Niamh.

Hope Street is a co-commission between BBC Northern Ireland, BBC Daytime and BritBox International, made with support from Northern Ireland Screen.

As well as the coastal town of Donaghadee, additional filming for this series took place in Fairhead, Killyleagh, Millisle and Ballyholme.

Co-creator and producer Paul Marquess, who jokingly referred to the programme as “Hope Street Joy”, is delighted with how the show has been received all over the world and that the latest run has been extended to 15 episodes.  

“Charm is difficult, and the extended run is testament to the talent and hard work of the cast, crew and production team.”

Also returning to Hope Street are Des McAleer (Barry Pettigrew), Kerri Quinn (Marlene Pettigrew), Sade Malone (Taylor Quinn), Louis McCartney (Shay O’Hare) and Ellie Lavery (Niamh O’Hare).

Hope Street series three starts on BBC One on October 30 at 7pm. Series one and two are available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.