EXCLUSIVE: Adrian Dunbar has become a household name in the UK thanks to his gruff performance as Superintendent Ted Hastings in hit BBC series Line Of Duty. Now, the Irish actor is turning his hand to another detective role — this time for ITV.
Dunbar will headline Ridley, a series in which he will play retiring Detective Inspector Alex Ridley, who is lured back into service as a consultant detective when his former protégée, Carol Farman, needs help cracking a complex murder case.
Penned by Vera and Father Brown writer Paul Matthew Thompson, ITV hopes Ridley can join the ranks of its detective icons, including Brenda Blethyn’s very own Vera Stanhope, David Jason’s A Touch of Frost, and John Thaw’s Inspector Morse.
Like some of these cherished dramas, Ridley’s episodes will play out over two-hour episodes, with All3Media-backed West Road Pictures making an initial season of four. West Road is currently producing mystery thriller Hollington Drive for ITV, while it previously worked with Dunbar on Channel 5’s Blood.
Dunbar’s Ridley has been nudged into retirement after 25 years of service as a homicide detective, though he is not exactly happy about the prospect. So when he gets a call from Farman, he is ready and willing to dust off his unique crime-solving experience.
Thompson has written the show after being inspired by real-life retired detectives re-joining the police in consultancy roles as a result of increasingly over-stretched resources. He will pen episodes one, two, and four, while Midsomer Murders scribe Julia Gilbert writes episode three.
Thompson also serves as executive producer alongside co-creator and West Road founder Jonathan Fisher. ITV head of drama Polly Hill commissioned Ridley and the series will be overseen by commissioner Chloe Tucker. The show is made in association with All3Media International, which will handle distribution.
“With his maverick idiosyncrasies, a heart-on sleeve empathy and a unique approach to solving crime we hope Ridley will soon join the canon of favourite TV detectives,” Thomson said. Dunbar added that he has never “headed into a production with more excitement and enthusiasm.”
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