Northern Ireland news

Line of Duty writer reveals 'insane' Belfast-ism he put into script

Rochenda Sandall and Stephen Graham in Line of Duty
Brendan Hughes

AS hit crime drama Line of Duty's top cop, Superintendent Ted Hastings is known for his array of Northern Ireland colloquialisms.

And now the no-nonsense police chief, played by Fermanagh's Adrian Dunbar, has had another well-known local saying added to his dialogue – thanks to a fan's suggestion.

Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio has revealed how he dropped an "insane" Belfast-ism into season five's launch episode, which aired on BBC One last night.

The writer said that while taking part in an event at the Mac some time ago, he asked the audience to suggest sayings that Hastings could use in the series.

Adrian Dunbar: It’s not looking good for Ted in new series of Line Of Duty

"I just asked the audience to throw out some colloquialisms," he told fans of the show last week during a special preview screening in Belfast.

"I have to say some were rubbish, but there were a couple that were very good and there was one that for me felt like it was so insane that it was irresistible.

"So I hope those of you that know the idiom will be pleased when they hear it."

What was the phrase? Amid a police interrogation towards the end of the episode, Superintendent Hastings says: "I didn't float up the Lagan in a bubble."

At the preview screening in BBC's Blackstaff House, the audience laughed and applauded when Dunbar uttered the instantly recognisable saying – despite it being during a tense scene.

Read More: Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure & Martin Compston on Line of Duty's return

Asked about Dunbar and his character Hastings becoming as an unlikely 'sex symbol' among some die-hard fans, Mr Mercurio joked: "I think he always felt that was his destiny."

Line of Duty, which focuses on the work of police anti-corruption unit AC-12, launched in 2012 and has been filmed in Belfast since its second series.

In 2017, the season four finale achieved the drama's highest overnight viewing figures so far with around 7.5 million tuning in – and the show has already been renewed for a sixth series.

Mr Mercurio, who also created last year's hit BBC drama Bodyguard, said filming Line of Duty in Belfast has "worked out very well for us".

"We have had amazing hospitality here and there's a lot of talent here that have become part of the show," he said.

"We're really happy with this very productive relationship that we have with Belfast and with Northern Ireland in general."

While set in a unnamed fictional city, fans from Belfast can often spot local landmarks – and joke at how characters can cross a street and instantaneously reappear in another part of Belfast miles away.

"We love messing with you guys," Mr Mercurio quipped during the Q&A, hosted by BBC presenter William Crawley.

Mr Mercurio was asked if he might bring his other series Bodyguard here to help Northern Ireland's politicians.

Laughing off the question, he answered: "Help them with what?"

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