From Spooks to Line of Duty – Keeley Hawes’ TV CV

The woman behind Doctor Who's latest villain is flavour of the month, thanks as well to a terrific turn in Jed Mercurio's police force thriller...

2014 is shaping up rather nicely for Keeley Hawes, thanks to a terrific turn as cop-turned-suspect DI Lindsay Denton in Line of Duty and the announcement of a plum role as the villainous Ms Delphox in the new series of Doctor Who. 


But Matthew Macfadyen’s other half has hardly been twiddling her thumbs all these years. Appearing on our screens since 1989, the 38-year-old actress has racked up a number of high profile roles, fronting BBC’s Ashes to Ashes and appearing in spy thriller Spooks (where she met her future husband) as well as Upstairs Downstairs – the Beeb’s doomed Downton Abbey rival. 

As Line of Duty nears its climax, we look back on Hawes’ TV hits and misses…

The Blonde Bombshell – 1999

After early roles in Karaoke and Our Mutual Friend, it was her portrayal of a young Diana Dors in The Blonde Bombshell that launched Hawes’ career. Starring opposite Amanda Redman in the ITV two-parter, the then-23-year-old binged on chips, chocolate and beer to recreate the UK starlet’s fuller figure. 

Tipping the Velvet – 2002

Along with Rachael Stirling, Jodhi May and a young Benedict Cumberbatch, Hawes appeared in the BBC’s adaptation of Tipping the Velvet – the Sarah Waters novel telling the tale of a nineteenth century lesbian love story. The miniseries required Hawes to shoot some steamy sex scenes, causing a fair bit of controversy among viewers but putting her name firmly on the map.

Spooks – 2002-2004

One of the many famous faces to grace the BBC1 spy drama, Hawes was there from the very start, along with fellow founding members David Oyelowo, Jenny Agutter, Peter Firth and her future husband Matthew Macfadyen. Playing case officer Zoe Reynolds, Hawes lasted until the third series when her character skipped the country to Chile with a new identity.

Ashes to Ashes – 2008-2010

Fast-forward to 2008 (and then rewind to the 1980s) and Keeley joined Philip Glenister in Ashes to Ashes – the sequel to Life on Mars – accepting the part of policewoman Alex Drake having never seen the original. Good thing, too – Hawes enjoyed three successful series sporting her character’s colourful ’80s threads.

Identity – 2010

Sticking with police procedurals, Hawes took issue with identity theft as crime-busting DS Martha Lawson in this cop drama. But sadly the public didn’t take to it, with ITV pulling the plug after just one series. 

Upstairs Downstairs – 2010-2012

“This house is going to see such life,” declared Keeley in the trailer for the Beeb’s revival of Upstairs Downstairs. Sadly her words failed to ring true with the show shedding viewers, and lasting just two series thanks in part to the overwhelming success of its ITV rival, Downton Abbey.

Line of Duty

In DI Lindsay Denton, Hawes has found herself a character to demonstrate her full dramatic ability, delivering a performance lauded by critics and viewers alike. Events draw to what is sure to be a dramatic conclusion next Wednesday with viewers waiting on tenterhooks to discover whether the suspected detective is victim or villain. Tune in to BBC2 at 9:00pm to find out…