Martin Freeman admits to being stopped by police as he opens up on new BBC role

The Responder: Martin Freeman stars in BBC trailer

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Freeman is a taking on a new role in BBC One drama The Responder which will take a different look at crime compared to what viewers have seen before. The BBC series will look at the emotional extremes of life as experienced by a police officer and the responders who take the 999 calls. 

With Freeman playing a copper in the new BBC series, he looked back on his own experience with the police. 

He explained has always respected what police do and wasn’t a troublemaker when he was a child.

However, he told Radio Times: “I’ve been stopped, but I’ve never been arrested. 

“I gave my mum quite a calm teenager. I’m the youngest of five, and I’d seen that happen.

“I thought, ‘I don’t want to make my mum make that noise again!’ So, I think I was quite good at steering clear of that.”

On the other hand, The Responder writer, Tony Schumacher, claimed he was a “scally” and always being chased by police officers.

While he wasn’t out robbing banks, he confessed he was a mischievous child and never set out to be a copper when he grew up.

Touching on why he took the role, Freeman revealed it was the characters that pulled him in as they all have a bit of good and bad amongst them.

He previously told The Guardian: “What I loved about The Responder, from first reading it, was its world in which there are laugh-out-loud moments, but it so quickly turns into something else.

“The producers deliberately shot the first part of The Responder as much as possible in order, which did really help establish the louring, foreboding sense something is about to f**king go off.

“It’s not, ‘Here’s a funny bit, now here’s a tragic bit.’ It’s all mixed together.”

The excitement for the BBC series has growing for some time as it was announced back in February 2020 and filming for the new mini-series began back in March 2021.

A first view of the series was given last November when the trailer was released and gave viewers a tease of Freeman’s Liverpudlian accent.

Touching on the struggles of mastering the accent, Freeman said: “I worked at it. I wanted to do more than the Saturday Night Live version of it, if you know what I mean, comedy sketch Scouse.

“I’ve got a decent handle on most accents for a first go. But that wouldn’t be enough to sustain it for five hours. I had to get beneath the surface.”

He added: “I always stay in accent from pick-up in the morning to the wrap at the end of the day, whether it’s American, Scottish, Mancunian, whatever.

“I liken it to sport, you wouldn’t ask a sprinter to run 100 metres without warming up first.”

The Responder takes place over a series of night shifts in Liverpool as Freeman’s character Chris goes from one stressful call to the next.

He is partnered up with a new officer, Rachel Hargreaves (Adelayo Adedayo) to help train her, and together they must try and deal with the crimes they go to.

Not only is there the ongoing struggle of dealing with criminals and domestic situations but there is also the awkwardness of getting to know a colleague, all the while dealing with any personal pressures.

The Responder premieres on BBC One on January 24 at 9pm. Read the full interview with Martin Freeman in this week’s Radio Times, out now.

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