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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Keith Allen plays Detective Inspector Hale

How would you describe the character of DI Hale?

He's impatient and a bit of a rule breaker but he's actually very moral. He's frustrated by formal policing channels and looks for quicker ways to get results. He's obviously known Eve for a while and, in need of her help, and knowing that she's skint, he approaches her to work on a couple of cases with him.

Have you any previous experience in playing a Detective Inspector?

No, I've never played a Detective Inspector before so this was all new to me. It was good fun though, there's a big new story to try and solve in each episode.

Were you a fan of Waking The Dead before signing on to The Body Farm?

I've always been a great admirer of Trevor Eve's work so any chance to appear in something that he's involved with is a wonderful opportunity.

What's it been like working with Tara Fitzgerald in her role as Eve Lockhart?

It's been fantastic – I've thoroughly enjoyed it. She's such a professional, and very, very funny – she makes me laugh. We worked together many years ago in a film called Rancid Aluminium, so it was great to be back on set with her.

How did you handle dealing with the gruesome crime scenes?

Well I was once in a series called Bodies so I'm used to working with the blood and the gore. This show has the same type of prosthetics. But I can tell you that I would rather work with a screaming bunch of kids than with the flies the production team used around the crime scene in episode one. It was stinking; really stinking. And in your face – literally and metaphorically; thousands of them.

Did you know anything about the real-life "Body Farms" before you took on the role and did you do any research before filming started?

Yes I did. I knew that one existed, in America not in the UK. I didn't do any research though – I never do. I'm just playing a human being, a policeman that's all. I wouldn't like to visit the real life farm though. It's occupation specific, it's not there for us to just look at.

Does DI Hale have any big dramatic chase scenes or does he ever find himself in danger?

There are no really big chase scenes for Hale unfortunately. And he's not really put into any danger. Actually I do chase someone in one of the later episodes – but that's not typical of what the show's about. The main focus is on solving the crimes after they've happened through the decomposing bodies – or often just remains. It's Hale who employs the team and suggests that they help him with certain areas of his investigation. He has a very good relationship with Eve based on mutual respect – they both have their individual areas of expertise.

How does being part of a forensic crime series such as this compare with your other experiences of working in TV?

This doesn't compare to any other show I've worked on – the last show I did was Treasure Island so this was completely different in every way. I've never been in an investigative ensemble piece but I've really enjoyed it. It's been very full-on but great fun.

Each episode of this series features a new guest star – who have you enjoyed working with?

I couldn't pick just one – the standard of guest artistes in this series has been wonderful.

What has been your favourite memory of working on the show?

Watching a body burn to death – well, I mean a prosthetic body, of course, that was supplied to recreate a man's death – was amazing. The Body Farm team set fire to a donor body at their research facility in an experiment to try and solve how someone has died. And away it went. It was very moving actually.

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