Superintendent Ted Hastings is almost as renowned for his catchphrases as he for catching bent coppers in BBC One police drama Line of Duty and series creator Jed Mercurio has teased there’s at least one more classic coming in season six.
Northern Irishman Hastings, played with such conviction by Adrian Dunbar, loves a pithy phrase that captures the mood of the scene, whether it be an emphatic “We will not leave a stone unturned” or his classic greeting “Inspector Hastings. Like the battle…”
In RadioTimes.com’s live aftershow Q&A on Facebook with the cast on Monday, we quizzed Dunbar about whether the public asked him to repeat his catchphrases.
“Yes they do,” he replied. “People ask me to do my catchphrases and ask me what they’re about… So I have to explain that and, ah, what is it about these catchphrases? They really have caught on, haven’t they?”
Mercurio joked that he was trying to remove the catchphrases from the scripts, but they were the first thing Dunbar demanded when he arrived on set.
“I mean, it’s great when a character reaches that point,” he said. “One of the things we really learned in season one was how important Hastings was as a character. He’s the glue of the series, in many ways he’s the conscience of the show. He defines the values of AC-12 and that’s why he’s such a loved and respected character.”
Hastings’ catchphrases were “a part of those idiosyncrasies. They paint a portrait of the man, you know, it’s just a real pleasure to find those. I hope one day we can find some new ones!”
Musing on it, Mercurio suddenly recalled there was a new one in the script for season six.
“I think there is something he’s never said before. I found it in my online research into Northern Irish idioms and I wrote in the script. Apparently it was OK because [Dunbar] did say it.”
Will they live up to classics like “Things get a wee bit fuzzy for me here, Sergeant. Maybe you could be a ray of sunshine and burn off the fog. Mmm?” and “We’ve been round the houses, Steve. Round the houses and down the bloody drains.”
Mother of God, that’s a challenge.
Mercurio talked about the resumption of production on Line of Duty season six and said they hoped to have it finished by Christmas, to screen in 2021.
RadioTimes.com’s Q&A with the Line of Duty cast and writers is available to watch on our Facebook page. Line of Duty is available to stream on BBC iPlayer and season one continues on BBC One on Monday.
If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.