Is Ted Hastings 'H'?

Sorry, I haven’t the foggiest.


I can, though, let you know how many times Ted Hastings in Line of Duty has said “Mother of God” or “Fella”, phrases so beloved I have dubbed them Tedisms. There are memes about Tedisms, drinking games about Tedisms. Adrian Dunbar himself, who plays Hastings, is also aware of Tedisms, telling BBC Radio 5 Live: “A woman came up and gave me an envelope with a load of bent coppers in it."

But which quote has been said the most? I decided to find out, by going through every Line of Duty script, finding the footage and making this montage.

Yes making this video took absolutely forever and I now have a headache. Thanks for asking.

Line of Duty (BBC)
Line of Duty (BBC)

How often does Hastings say… “Fella”?

Amazingly, you only hear Hastings say “fella” once before series three. The next “fellas” are introduced in quick succession (“three shots, fella” / “You shot that fella in cold blood while your wee mates stood by and watched” / “Why did you keep firing? Were you losing it out there, fella?”)

From that point onwards it’s basically “fella” o’clock’. Halfway through the third series, we practically get to fellamageddon (a word that Microsoft Word tells me 'does not exist' and is part of a sentence that I ‘should consider revising.’).

You might wonder why Ted says “fella.” From my analysis, it is primarily because the situation he finds himself in is quite bad. Not Urgent Exit Required bad, but A Chief Superintendent takes Ted out for a dinner and casually tells him to stop bad. He also says "fella" to people who have done something bad, the exception being Dot, until he realises Dot has done something bad. Is this a clue to what might happen next in Line of Duty? Probably. I’ve wasted so much time on this I’m just going to say yes.

Here is a graph. I just want to take this opportunity to say I hate Microsoft Excel.

How many times has Hastings said “Mother of God”?

Hastings has said “Mother of God” nine times.

Nearly every single time he has said it has been when he has encountered a dead body.


He also tends to whisper “Mother of God” rather than say it loudly, but not every time. Thus here I am presenting the most useless pie chart that you have ever seen:

On a rather interesting side-note, do you know that a lot of Tedisms appear to be said as if Ted is actually god and/or controls the weather? (“Things get a wee bit fuzzy for me here Sergeant. Maybe you could be a ray of sunshine and burn off the fog. Mmm?” / “I have been shifting heaven and earth” / “He will not leave a stone unturned.”)

*nearby phone rings*

Hang on a second.


Oh hi Mum. Oh you’ve read this article? OK. I just want to ensure you that everything is fine. I haven’t lost the plot.

Yes, can’t wait to see you in Cornwall next week.

“God give me strength”

Yes, that’s right. I’m now tackling the sentence that you currently have in your head whilst reading this article. It is Lindsay Denton who causes Ted Hastings to utter "God give me strength" for the first time. Of course it is. This is the same Denton who is causing Hastings incredible grief in the most recent episode of Line of Duty, despite having the slight setback of being dead. What a woman.

Towards the end of the third series, Ted says this whilst overlooking the now (iconic) reception and says “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Catching criminals is tough enough but catching coppers – God give me strength.” I think to myself “yes, I know you’ve said it before, I’ve written them all down.”

Then, just as I am thinking that, Ted throws in a “fella”, making it a “fella God give me strength” Christmas. He says it five times in total. Sorry about this in advance.

How often does Superintendent Hastings say… “Superintendent Hastings. Like the battle”?

Line of Duty (BBC)
Line of Duty (BBC)

TWICE, unlike the actual battle of Hastings which happened only once.

How many times has Hastings said… “We do our duty to the letter of the law. The letter"?

Line of Duty (BBC)
Line of Duty (BBC)

Hastings has said this three times, once to Steve Arnott (“the letter of the law, the letter”), once to Roz Huntley (“All that’s expected of us as police officers is that we do our duty to the letter of the law, the letter”) and once to Steve Hilton (“The letter of the law, the letter.”)

[If this sentence is here, it is because Scott Bryan failed to write an adequate joke about letters, stamps and post offices in time for the article being submitted]

Here’s another graph. I made this one in a Pret A Manger.

No, I am not scraping the barrel. For example: “we’re going to get on like a house on fire” and “We’ve been round the houses, Steve. Round the houses and down the bloody drains.” Even interiors: “None of my people would plant evidence. They know I would throw the book at them. Followed by the bookshelf.” There’s even a segment on lighting:“I don’t care if you and DCC Dryden were swinging from the chandeliers.” And even an orchard: “You look like a couple of kids who’ve been caught robbing an orchard.”

More like this

Also food: “Go back to the coal face, the pair of you, unless you’ve got more egg-sucking tips for your granny.” And drink? “A big pint of that cats’ piss that you… fellas seem to like so much.”

Let’s cross over to the pie chart:

And finally… how many times does Ted Hastings say... “Bent copper”?

Line of Duty (BBC)
Line of Duty (BBC)

We have heard it seven times. This is the catchphrase that we know best. I love how Ted Hastings saying the words “bent coppers” causes a surge of energy throughout your entire body.

Let’s just crack on to a bar chart that will make my geography teacher despair.

I regret to inform you that I don’t think we’re sucking diesel.


Line of Duty series five concludes on Sunday 5th May at 9pm on BBC1