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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Inspector George Gently: Lee Ingleby plays Bacchus

As an actor, Lee is a true chameleon – and is currently filming the new BBC drama series White Heat. Recent television roles have included: Crooked House, A Place Or Execution, Rapunzel (when he played a female tennis star), Life On Mars, Wind In The Willows as Mole, Early Doors, Nicholas Nickleby as Smike, Spaced and Nature Boy, and a new Mike Leigh project.

Recent films include: Doghouse, Wintering, Hippie Hippie Shake, Harry Potter, Master And Commander, Borstal Boy and Ever After.

Tell us about storylines for you this season.

The first episode is quite dark (Goodbye China), it's to do with bullying on many levels, there's something dark and sinister. The second film (Gently Upside Down) I would say is a bit lighter in that it's set against the days of the burgeoning TV pop show industry. Bacchus always jumps in head-first – and generally jumps to conclusions with seedy goings on with a teacher and his pupils.

Have you worked with any of the other cast members?

Mark Benton, who's playing a pig farmer in Goodbye China. We worked on Nature Boy and another project, The Impact, that never was shown, and was loosely based on Lockerbie. Inspector George Gently's a nice programme to be involved in, as we always have great guest actors coming in for each story.

What are Bacchus's best/worst qualities?

His worst qualities are quite a long list! Then again I do think he's a good copper – he's ambitious and is always wanting to impress, especially Gently.

What do you like best about the series?

I like the relationship between George and I – it's not as mundane as the usual two coppers, it's feisty and we fire off each other so well.

I love the attention to detail. It's brilliant doing a costume drama, seeing how the production team pull everything together so exactly. This season recreating a Sixties TV studio was truly like stepping back in time – and Martin said he remembered it all, so it must have been right!

What did you enjoy about filming in the North East?

It's all just there for you. I especially like filming in Durham.

As a non-smoker, how did you cope with all the smoking?

I do it because it makes it more authentic and just sets the period so well, as in those days everyone did smoke. It's hard to deal with, when you have to keep repeating a scene though, as you keep on having to light up yet another cigarette.

What do you think of the 1966 period costumes and hair?

I always love all of Bacchus's outfits, he takes pride in his appearance. And this year Bacchus seems to be "on a promise", seemingly going off out on dates, so he has a good line in polo neck sweaters!

Is there something that reminds you of this period?

When I was a kid I remember just wanting some aftershave! This series I get to splash on Old Spice – just seeing that classic bottle is like being in a time warp. I always said that Bacchus was a sort of Dr No, so that movie is very evocative of the period for me!

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