First Look: BBC Police Drama ‘The Responder’ Stars Martin Freeman (EXCLUSIVE)

BBC has unveiled the first image from new police drama “The Responder,” starring Martin Freeman.

Written by ex-police officer Tony Schumacher and made by Dancing Ledge Productions (“The Salisbury Poisonings”), Freeman stars as Chris, a crisis-stricken, morally compromised urgent response officer who is forced to take on a new rookie partner (Adelayo Adedayo).

Together, they realize that survival in a high-pressure, relentless night-time world will depend on them either helping or destroying each other.

The BBC drama, which was unveiled last year as part of a slate from first-time TV writers working with the public broadcaster, is billed as “holding a mirror up” to the extremes of life on the front line of British policing. The gritty police genre is a big hit with local audiences, who lapped up the latest season of BBC’s “Line of Duty,” which pulled in a record-breaking 12.8 million overnight viewers.

“Tony Schumacher’s scripts were so unique and honest that I knew very quickly that I wanted to be a part of ‘The Responder’ and take on the role of Chris,” said Freeman. “No one writes like Tony and it has been exhilarating inhabiting the world he has created.”

Schumacher added: “My fantasy casting when I was writing the character of Chris in ‘The Responder’ was Martin Freeman. Seeing that fantasy become reality is beyond exciting. Martin is one of the great British actors. He brings such a well of talent and humanity that breathes magic into the words I’ve been lucky enough to give him. I can’t wait for audiences to get to see his performance in this role, it’s one I feel very lucky to have had a front row seat for.”

Further casting includes Ian Hart (“Tin Star”) MyAnna Buring (“The Salisbury Poisonings”), Kerrie Hayes (“Tin Star”) and Warren Brown (“Luther”). David Bradley (“Afterlife”) and Rita Tushingham (“Ridley Road”) will also take on roles alongside newcomers Josh Finan and Emily Fairn.

The five-part drama is written by Schumacher in his first original series for television, and produced by Fremantle-backed Dancing Ledge Productions for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. It is directed by Tim Mielants (“The Terror”) and produced by Rebecca Ferguson (“The Trial Of Christine Keeler”). Laurence Bowen and Chris Carey are executive producers for Dancing Ledge Productions and Mona Qureshi for the BBC.

Fremantle is handling global distribution for the drama series.

“The Responder” is partly funded by the Liverpool Film Office through the LCR Production Fund. Filming is taking place now in and around Liverpool City Region.

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