Martin Compston reveals which Line of Duty scene he was “really nervous about”

"Jed [Mercurio]" loves torturing Steve," says the star of BBC One's hit drama

Line of Duty – Steve Arnott

Watching BBC One’s gripping drama Line of Duty is always a nail-biting experience for viewers, but star Martin Compston has revealed that there was one plot twist in particular that he was “really nervous about”.


Speaking to, Compston revealed that he was concerned about his character Steve Arnott’s near-death experience in the show’s fourth series – because he feared the public would want to see Steve perish!

“One of my big fears was when I got thrown over the stairs,” he said. “I was really nervous about it because I said, ‘Look, maybe people will want Steve to die! He’s so arrogant and rubs people up the wrong way’.

“But Jed [Mercurio, Line of Duty creator/writer] said, ‘Don’t worry, this will completely change the audience’s relationship with him, because people want to see the hero go through adversity’ and it really did. From that moment on, everybody’s been rooting for him. So Jed knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Steve Arnott – Line of Duty
Steve Arnott – Line of Duty

Though Steve survived his brutal assault at the hands of one of the Balaclava Men, Line of Duty’s fifth series – which aired earlier this year – established that he’s suffering long-term physical effects: back problems, which have led to a reliance on painkillers, and difficulties… erm… performing in the bedroom.

Could the physical and psychological impact of his attack be further explored next series?

“All I can tell you, which is very obvious, is that Jed loves torturing Steve, and subsequently me!” Compston told us. “He loves putting him through the wringer, so I’m pretty sure he’ll face some sort of internal crisis.

“Whether there is something else that comes on, it’ll benefit the character in the long term… unless he’s dead! That’s the thing with Line of Duty – anybody can go at any time!”


Line of Duty is expected to return to BBC One in 2020.

Martin Compston will appear in Traces, beginning this December on Alibi