Jed Mercurio reveals how new Line of Duty scripts reflect the pandemic

You have the right to be questioned by an officer at least two metres away.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 09/04/2019 - Programme Name: Line of Duty - Series 5 - TX: 14/04/2019 - Episode: Line of Duty S5 - episode 3 (No. 3) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED TILL 00:01 TUESDAY 9TH APRIL 2019*** Steve (MARTIN COMPSTON), Kate (VICKY MCCLURE), Hastings (ADRIAN DUNBAR) - (C) World Productions - Photographer: Peter Marley

Line of Duty was one of the high-profile dramas forced to down tools when the coronavirus pandemic first hit.

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Thankfully series six was able to resume filming and we’re expecting news of an air date any day now.

Writer Jed Mercurio has been talking about what’s in store, and how he has reflected COVID-19 in the new episodes.

While there are no explicit coronavirus storylines, and no social distancing between characters, he hasn’t ignored the virus completely. Speaking on tonight’s Inside Culture with Mary Beard, Mercurio teases, “It is shot so that the pandemic is invisible… what we did decide to do was we snuck in a few allegorical points in relation to the current situation, so sharp-eyed viewers should look out for those.”

Beard also asked the celebrated writer whether he would consider writing a drama specifically about the COVID crisis, and he admits it’s a subject he could explore. “It feels now that if I were to write about medicine it probably would be directly related to the pandemic, because I think that drama should address that,” he says. “Quite what canvas that should be in, I don’t know.”

So a lockdown-inspired drama could well be on the cards, but what about another political thriller to follow the phenomenal success of Bodyguard? Mercurio tells Beard he’s no longer convinced such a show would work. “I think now if you were to set something in the world of politics, that the issue is that it’s changing very fast, and it does feel like we’re heading in a direction that it’s quite hard for drama to make seem authentic.”

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Line of Duty will return to BBC One soon. Inside Culture With Mary Beard in conversation with Jed Mercurio is on BBC Two, tonight at 7pm. To find out what else is on tonight, check out our TV Guide.