Martin Freeman (Sherlock, The Office) leads the cast in the new BBC One drama The Responder, which kicked off last night (Monday 24th January).


Freeman stars as Chris Carson, a police officer from Liverpool whose mental health begins to buckle during a run of six consecutive night shifts, in the high stakes drama. In the first episode, Carson is dragged into a feud between a local drug dealer and a young heroin addict.

But, if you think things seemed bad for Chris in episode 1, they’re about to get a whole lot worse.

“It gets pretty bad [for Chris as the show goes on]," Freeman told and other press. "It starts stressful and it escalates from there, really. He's constantly trying to bring all these threads and strands in his life together, and he’s spinning a lot of heavy f**king plates, for sure."

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

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 new BBC drama The Responder.

The Responder release date and time

MyAnna Buring in The Responder
MyAnna Buring in The Responder BBC

The Responder landed on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Monday 24th January 2022 at 9pm GMT.

The second episode then airs the following night, on Tuesday 25th January, before the remaining three episodes air from Monday to Wednesday the next week.

How many episodes are there in The Responder?

Altogether there are five episodes in BBC's The Responder.

Filming began on the project in March 2021, and 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).

The Responder BBC cast

Adelayo Adedayo in The Responder
Adelayo Adedayo as Rachelin The Responder BBC

There is quite the talented cast that makes up the roster for the BBC drama The Responder.

The central cast list for The Responder is as follows.

  • Martin Freeman as Chris Carson
  • Adelayo Adedayo as Rachel Hargreaves
  • Warren Brown as Raymond Mullen
  • MyAnna Buring as Kate Carson
  • Emily Fairn as Casey
  • Josh Finan as Marco
  • Rita Tushingham as June Carson
  • Ian Hart as Carl Sweeney

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 Rachel, 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 Elizabeth Berrington (The Office), Kerrie Hayes (Tin Star), Warren Brown (Luther), David Bradley (Afterlife) and Rita Tushingham (Ridley Road) alongside newcomers Josh Finan and Emily Fairn.

Who plays the therapist in The Responder?

Elizabeth Berrington in The Responder
Elizabeth Berrington in The Responder BBC

Elizabeth Berrington, who previously shared the screen with Martin Freeman in the two-part Christmas special of The Office (UK), plays Carson's therapist in BBC's The Responder.

She is employed by Merseyside Police to offer counselling to police officers who are struggling with their mental health.

What is the plot of The Responder?

The show is 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."

The Responder
Martin Freeman stars as Chris in The Responder BBC

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.

More like this

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.

If you want to find out more, you can read our The Responder review.

The Responder trailer

The first trailer for The Responder was released by the BBC on November 22, 2021.

The footage teased what to expect from the series, including the emotional turmoil facing Martin Freeman's lead character.

The explosive clip confirmed that The Responder will be "streaming soon" on BBC iPlayer and showed off footage of Martin Freeman in emotionally fraught scenes.

A second trailer was released in January 2022 ahead of the show's debut, giving another glimpse into Chris' gruelling shift.

This certainly looks set to be an intense watch.

What will happen to Chris and his family as the danger increases across the episodes?


The Responder premieres on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 24th January at 9pm. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide, or visit our Drama hub for all the latest news.