Keeley Hawes will not appear in Line of Duty series three

The Bafta-nominated actress confirms "there's nothing for me in there" as the acclaimed BBC2 drama begins filming with Daniel Mays

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Keeley Hawes stole the show when she joined series two of Line of Duty, earning widespread critical acclaim and a best actress Bafta nomination for her portrayal of DI Lindsay Denton. 

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But any fans hoping to see her feature in the upcoming third series will be disappointed. Jed Mercurio’s police corruption drama – which also stars Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Adrian Dunbar – began filming earlier this month, but Hawes has confirmed she will not be involved. 

Speaking at last night’s Bafta Television Awards nominees party, she was asked what she knows of the return of the BBC2 series. “Only that Daniel Mays is doing it which is great news because he is brilliant. 

“There’s nothing for me in there,” she added. 

Was she hoping there might be after the popularity of her role last year? “No, because it’s done and dusted, really. I’ve done it.” 

However, the 39-year-old actress added she’s delighted by the “grittier roles” she’d been offered since she kept the nation gripped over whether or not the inscrutable Denton was guilty. “I went on to play Samatha Mollison in The Casual Vacancy and that was a role I don’t think I’d have been thought of for had I not done Line of Duty.” 

Hawes also spoke of her surprise at the scale of reaction to her no-frills appearance in the Bafta-nominated role. “Mostly people were surprised that an actress would be happy to be seen without any make-up on – it’s not shocking, is it? So, that had a big impact – the look and the fact it’s something they hadn’t seen me do. But then they hadn’t given me the opportunity to do it.”

Next up is The Hollow Crown – the second cycle of BBC2’s Shakespeare adaptations also starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Bonneville and Judi Dench. “It’s like learning another language. I felt Shakespeare is something for other people – something that wasn’t necessarily something I could enjoy – and actually it’s not like a secret society. Everybody has to work through it to understand it. Judi Dench asks questions, Dominic [Cooke, the director] asks questions – it’s OK not to understand it, it has to be picked over.

“It was my biggest challenge so far, I think. I was really scared and I’m really pleased I did it.” 

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Which show should win this year’s Bafta Radio Times Audience Award – The Missing, Cilla, Strictly Come Dancing, The Great British Bake Off, Game of Thrones, Sherlock or EastEnders? Vote for your favourite here.