Lee Ingleby on new drama Innocent and the future of The A Word

The BBC1 drama aired its second series last year and Ingleby "hopes" it will go on "for ever and ever"

The A Word, BBC Pictures, SL

Lee Ingleby is a busy man. Last year saw him co-star with Thandie Newton in Line of Duty, before he appeared in series two of The A Word and the explosive final two-parter of Inspector George Gently.

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Fast-forward to 2018 and he’s due back on screens in new ITV drama Innocent – this time as the baddie. Starring alongside Hermione Norris, Ingleby plays David Collier, who has served seven years in prison for murdering his wife. Released on a technicality after three trials, the question remains – did he do it?

Either way, Ingleby is relishing the challenge: “It’s always great to play a villain.”

Of course, he’s better known for portraying the nice guy – in Inspector George Gently he was trusty sidekick John Bacchus to Martin Shaw’s George Gently, and in The A Word he’s known as family man Paul – father to Joe, who is diagnosed with autism.

The BBC1 drama aired its second series in 2017 to great acclaim. With such a loyal fanbase, surely The A Word will return for more episodes? “I hope there will be more,” said Ingleby. “We’ve always planned on doing it every two years… Time’s changed, Joe’s grown up and it’s a special one because it’s such a lovely job. As a cast and crew we adore it and because Pete Bowker is such a brilliant writer, we hope it will go on forever and ever.

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“I think as far as Pete’s concerned it’ll be like Boyhood – we’ll go into [Joe’s] mid twenties, if we could.”