Martin Freeman is set to star in a new BBC drama from first time TV writer Tony Schumacher.


The Responder is described by BBC Drama’s controller Piers Wenger as a “raw, anarchic and funny portrait of a corner of Britain rarely seen on screen” and will air across six episodes on BBC Two.

Each of the episodes will cover a different night shift on the beat in Liverpool, seen through the eyes of a law enforcement officer who is struggling with his mental health.

Schumacher is himself a former urgent response officer and has drawn on his own experiences to write the scripts.

He said, “If you had told me six years ago that I would be working with the BBC, a company of the calibre of Dancing Ledge, and an actor with the talent of Martin Freeman, I would have thrown you out of my taxi for being drunk.”

Freeman said that the script resonated with him “immediately” and that it “felt like nothing that I'd read or seen.”

The series was one of a spate of new dramas from first time writers announced by the BBC yesterday, with the other commissions including Chloe, an “assertive, audacious thriller exploring obsession, identity, grief, and truth”, My Name is Leon, a feature length adaptation of award-winning author Kit de Waal’s novel of the same name, and Superhoe a new BBC Three drama.

Sally Rooney's acclaimed novel Conversations with Friends will also be adapted by the BBC, it was revealed.

Wenger said, “The popularity of BBC Drama speaks for itself – with audiences willing to go on the wildest of adventures provided that stories feel robust emotionally, unexpected and apposite.”

He added, “We are continuing our commitment to producing the best British drama there is, with four new drama commissions - each a first in its own right.

“Sometimes being first isn’t about being first with an idea, it’s about being first to an idea.


“These four brilliant and varied pieces are written by someone who is new to television writing, and it might sound risky, but backing new talent is normal and natural to us.”