Martin Compston preferred “more subtle” early Line of Duty series

The actor said that the first three series of the hit crime drama, before it moved to BBC1, were his favourite

Martin Compston plays DS Steve Arnott in Line of Duty

Martin Compston has said that the first three series of hit crime drama Line of Duty were his favourite—claiming that the series was more ‘subtle’ during its early days.


The Scot, who plays DS Steve Arnott on the popular show, explained that the move from BBC2 to BBC1—and the larger audience that that brought—ensured the show had to make some changes.

Speaking in the latest issue of Radio Times, Compston said, “My favourite ones were the first three, when we were on BBC2, because I feel they were more subtle.

“When you go on to BBC1, it’s a bigger audience and it’s car chases and whatever.

“Now we’re established on BBC1, I hope we can go back to what we were on BBC2 when the dramas were all in the massive interview scenes and in back alleys.”

The series is currently filming for its sixth run, with Kelly Macdonald as the guest star—although production has recently been suspended as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Compston will next be on our screens in BBC1’s new Glasgow-set thriller The Nest, which begins this Sunday.

And the actor has said that he really enjoyed playing the role of Dan—which was written especially for him by series creator Nicole Taylor.

“It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve felt I could really let fly,” he said. “The shackles were off, I didn’t need to worry about voice or accents or whatever, and weirdly I didn’t have to think. I just did.

“It felt so natural – as if I didn’t even have to learn it. Obviously with a lot of things, you’re consciously playing a character. That’s why you do it, to pretend to be somebody else, but with this, there was a real feeling of being present in the moment.”


The full interview with Martin Compston is available to read in the latest issue of Radio Times.