55 Degrees North
The Force: Christian
Rodska plays DI Dennis Carter
Rank: Detective Inspector
ID: Runs his team with an iron will. A politically astute operator
who is professionally ambitious with a permanent eye on the clear-up
For every ambitious young cop there is always a steadying hand ready
to hold him back from rash decisions, or perhaps even to frustrate him.
DI Dennis Carter is that man in the life of Detective
Sergeant Nicky Cole.
Carter runs his team with an iron will and a frosty
exterior. Doing well isn't enough to impress him a detective
in his charge has to be brilliant.
"He's very professional is Carter," actor
Christian Rodska says of his screen alter ego.
"He doesn't suffer fools at all, people have to
really prove themselves to get anywhere with him.
"Nicky keeps asking to get off the nightshift but
I won't let him and it isn't clear exactly why this is.
"It could look like I want
him to prove himself, or it could be racism there are elements
of that from other people. A banana is left on his desk for example
subtle things like that.
"But these six episodes are basically about people
not trusting one another, so in fact he's here for a reason. But
you don't find out what until the very end."
Christian wondered whether anything new could be done
with the police drama formula until he read the 55 Degrees North
"When you watch television
you think 'do we need another police drama'. And then you get it and
you think, 'Oh you know what I think we do. This one. At least one more'.
"But this one is different, I am sure they all
say that, but it is different from The Bill and Cops."
To get the feel of the character, Christian grabbed
at the chance of visiting a local police station.
"That was very useful,"
"Although there is a formality that is observed
all the time there is also an informality they all seemed quite
relaxed. For instance people use their Christian names a hell of a lot.
"The sort of times they might refer to someone
by a surname is when a superior is present or when they are annoyed
"They were horrified by the
racism that was shown in the BBC documentary [The Secret Policeman]
last year," he adds.
"That is an interesting thing to throw up in this
series: a cockney in Newcastle, who doesn't support United, and secondly
a black man. It's already a good ingredient."
For Christian, as with a number of the actors, getting
the chance to film on location in Newcastle represented a personal homecoming.
"I was born in Cullecoats,
just up the road," he explains.
"My mother was a Geordie and my father was a Dane,
he was a sailor.
"He was wounded during the war and was up here
recovering when he met my mum before going off to do the North Atlantic
"After the war he was actually
the harbour master in Basra, Iraq. And he taught King Faisal to sail.
"Luckily for me I was at boarding school in England
when the coup happened that overthrew Faisal, but my parents and younger
brother were there at the time and it was quite hairy for a while before
they managed to get out."
Despite living abroad for some time, Christian retains
a distinctive Geordie accent, and still has family connections with
the North East.
"All my aunts were up here,
though sadly they are dead now. I have got one cousin left, and I have
been up a few times once to do a Catherine Cookson, then an episode
"I keep meaning to come more often because it is
so beautiful here."
Christian is most impressed with Newcastle itself. 55
Degrees North has been shot almost entirely on location, and shows the
area off to its best.
"It's a wonderful city now.
If you go down to the Tyne for instance and look up at those three or
four bridges. The Millennium Bridge alone is a wonderful bit of architecture."