Adrian Dunbar has discussed his singing in new detective drama Ridley, revealing that particular aspect of the character was his idea – and that it isn't his first musical performance.


The latest role for the Northern Irish actor is ex-Detective Inspector Alex Ridley, who is lured back into police work for one last case, which he takes on alongside running a jazz club.

Dunbar sings multiple times across the series and told press at a live Q&A that the prospect didn't frighten him, having previously played in a three-piece country band as well as finding work as an Elvis Presley impersonator.

“No, no nervousness at all," he said of taking to the stage. "I started [out] playing in bands, so being on stage singing is something I've done quite a bit of. And even in my 40s I put another band together and I went out on the road in Ireland, played in pubs and bars and stuff like that, just for my own enjoyment, because I like it."

Besides his own personal passion for music, Dunbar was keen for the jazz club element to be included in Ridley to give the character some extra depth and show "something interesting" about the character outside of his day job.

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"I really wanted to do something with music in it, so I suggested that he owned a jazz club. And then I did some research regarding jazz and the north of England and so forth. I came across Richard Hawley, who I didn’t know, and started listening to his songs," recalled Dunbar in an interview released to press.

"Subsequently, we contacted Richard and we found three of his songs that we really liked, because I thought they really suited my character. And so we went and recorded them and fitted them into the show. And I think that element really works. I also wanted a place within the show every week that you’d go to that was a bit warmer and a bit more glamorous."

Julie Graham plays Annie Marling in Ridley
Julie Graham plays Annie Marling in Ridley ITV

Dunbar went on to describe Ridley's club as "very integrated" into the show, in a similar vein to how other famous television detectives have had side projects or quirks that have come to define them.

"I thought if he's running his own club with the wonderful Julie Graham, who’s an old mate, then that would feel kind of right... A lot of it was my idea and thankfully, the guys ran with it,” added the Line of Duty star.

Be sure to catch Dunbar's dulcet tones this bank holiday weekend on ITV.

Ridley premieres on ITV at 8pm on Sunday 28th August 2022. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.


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