The Responder release date: Latest news, cast and more for Martin Freeman BBC series

Black Panther star Martin Freeman will lead the six-part police drama set in Liverpool.

The Responder

The BBC has released a first-look image of Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Breeders) in brand new police comedy-drama The Responder.


The image shows Freeman in costume as the titular first responder – Chris, an urgent response police officer.

The six-part BBC One series also features the likes of Adelayo Adedayo (The Capture), Ian Hart (The Terror), and MyAnna Buring (The Salisbury Poisonings), whose casting was announced in March 2021.

The upcoming series is penned by ex-police officer Tony Schumacher, and based on his real experiences on the job.

Freeman plays an officer on the beat in Liverpool who is tasked with six night shifts – each of which he completes over the course of one of six episodes. Chris is just trying to make it to the end of each shift, but his daily grind is interrupted when he’s forced to take on new rookie partner Rachel (Adedayo).

Schumacher said in a statement: “I’m so incredibly fortunate to be writing for a cast as amazing as the one we’ve assembled for The Responder. From legends at the top of their game, to young talents who are legends in waiting, it’s a writer’s dream come true.”

Here’s everything you need to know about The Responder.

When is The Responder on TV?

The series was first announced back in February 2020 alongside a slate of other programmes, including Conversations with Friends (based on the book of the same name by Normal People’s Sally Rooney).

Filming began on the project in March 2021 – which indicates a likely broadcast date of late 2021 or early 2022.

The Responder cast

Martin Freeman, of Black Panther and The Hobbit franchise fame, will play the titular “first responder”, Chris.

Freeman said: “Tony Schumacher’s script for The Responder resonated with me immediately. It felt like nothing that I’d read or seen. Great to work with Laurence and Chris at Dancing Ledge again and finding a home at the BBC has been a wonderful start to the journey.”

Adelayo Adedayo (The Capture) plays the role of rookie cop Rahchel, alongside additional cast members Ian Hart (The Terror), and MyAnna Buring (The Salisbury Poisonings).

The rest of the cast is rounded out by the likes of Kerrie Hayes (Tin Star), Warren Brown (Luther), David Bradley (Afterlife) and Rita Tushingham (Ridley Road) alongside newcomers Josh Finan and Emily Fairn.

The Responder trailer

There’s no trailer yet, but we’ll keep this page updated.

What is The Responder about?

The show its based on the real-life experiences of ex-police officer Tony Schumacher, a first-time television writer who said of the BBC commission: “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.

“And yet here I am, surrounded and supported by all these great people, and able to launch this story on one of the greatest TV channels in the world. It turns out that dreams can come true after all.”

In the show, officer Chris is on the beat for six night shifts, during which he balances both the challenging and sometimes hilarious aspects of his job alongside his own personal issues, including his mental health and a struggling marriage.

In the first-look image released in May 2021, Chris (Freeman) is standing in front of what looks like a burning building at nighttime, perhaps suggesting that one episode might feature a house fire.


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