The new 10-part series sees cast members Tamzin Outhwaite (Sasha Miller) and Nicholas Lyndhurst (Dan Griffin), who were introduced at the end of the last series, established alongside Denis Lawson (Steve McAndrew) and Dennis Waterman (Gerry Standing) as the team of retired ex-coppers reinvestigating the Met’s unsolved crimes.
Richard Burrell, Executive Producer, says: “The end of the last series was very much about Tamzin’s character, Sasha Miller, getting her feet under the table as the new boss of UCOS. The starting point for this series is, its six months later, they know each other, they know how to rib each other, they know how to wind each other up and they’re up and running to have new adventures.
"The other point about the new series is with the new team in place we go back to 10 separate stories, with a variety of character issues weaved throughout each episode for one, or all, of the main cast. It’s also an opportunity for the audience to get to know and fall in love with each of the characters.”
Producer, Tom Mullens, adds: “There’s definitely a new dynamic within the team, the format is still the same with three unruly boys running rings around their boss. Tamzin’s character brings something slightly different to the dynamic and so do the guys and there are different relationships to explore between them all.”
Richard Burrell adds: “Along with the team dynamic, humour continues to play a big part in New Tricks and is potentially one of the things that sets it apart from other cop shows, and it doesn’t need to come out of banana skin jokes, here it comes out of a relationship or situation.
“In episode one we concentrate on Gerry Standing’s character and his upbringing in Bermondsey, the people he used to know, and at the heart of that episode there is still a meaty case to be solved. He’s asked to find out what happened to the grandson of one of his friends.
"Every episode is different, strong crime stories throughout. We meet Steve McAndrew’s wife, played by Julie Graham who has to deal with his son who turns up unexpectedly, Sasha Miller has to deal with her ex-husband, who is also a cop and Dan is dealing with empty nest syndrome when his daughter leaves for university, so we play those character stories throughout.”
In terms of what Tamzin’s character of Sasha brings to New Tricks, Richard explains: “Amanda Redman’s character of Pullman, worked and operated in a different Metropolitan Police and we were aware she was tough, she ruled with a rod of iron, because in that era, as a woman, you had to be like that in the police force, you had to be tougher than the men to be taken seriously. With Sasha Miller you can be your own woman, the methodology of policing is more inclusive as reflected in many work places and I think that’s what we’ve bought to the character of Sasha.”
Guest artists featured in this series include Phil Davis, Nicola Stephenson, Sophie Thompson, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Claire Goose, David Hayman, Niamh Cusack, Louis Emerick, Amy Nutall and Tom Georgeson.
New Tricks is made by Wall To Wall Television (a Warner Bros Television Production) executive produced by Richard Burrell for Wall To Wall and Polly Hill for BBC One, and produced by Tom Mullens.
New Tricks was recommissioned by Danny Cohen, Controller of BBC One, and Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning.
Q&A with Tamzin Outhwaite
Tamzin Outhwaite is DCI Sasha Miller – trained in the Kidnap Unit, DCI Miller is firm, feisty and fair with an inclusive and modern management style
How would you describe your character?
Quite no nonsense and quite straight forward, also much more vulnerable than you’d expect and quite comfortable in male company. She’s been leading high-level teams in a much more intense and dangerous environment, but what she’s found in this team of people is a very comfortable unit, which personally she finds a lot more stable.
What do you like about your character?
I like her a lot. I like the fact she got a great connection with the team, she has a respect for all three characters and the amount of hours they put in. I love that she has that respect for them and she doesn’t undermine them. She feels everyone has a place in the team and I like the fact she’s had a lot of heartache and now she’s getting her mojo back and is going to have some fun again.
What attracted you to the role?
I like the realism of New Tricks, the idea that all of this is really possible. I have quite an inquisitive nature, so I’d be interested in doing a job like this in real life. I’m quite passionate about finding out about things and I’m really direct and nosy. I thought I could do this and it would suit me.
Did you have to do any research?
I shadowed a DCI in Manchester a few years ago for another series, so used the research from that. It was really interesting to see what a real female DCI is like, how her team treated her and what she was interested in. The other thing I didn’t expect was how much she cared about clothes. There’s definitely a suit of armour you want to put on and it helps in that role. It was really important to have a well cut suit, impeccable shoes, which I didn’t expect, you’d expect something much more practical.
What does Sasha Miller bring to dynamic of the team?
I think she likes to have a laugh with them and wants them to have a good time, and she gives as good as she gets, she takes the mickey out of them. But I don’t think she’s scared to show her vulnerable side, just because she’s the boss. I think they’ve very protective of her, particularly Danny (Nicholas Lyndhurst). I think that’s quite a nice element that Sasha brings to the team, she’s tough when she needs to be, but doesn’t go around barking orders.
What do you think the appeal of the series is?
I think the audience seem to love all the different characters and the camaraderie. They know we’re police and we’re trying to solve an unsolved crime, so you’re saving the day somehow. But we’re quite ordinary characters; we’re not hotshot cops with guns. I think it makes people comfortable that we’re people you might know or see on the street. But I think it’s the banter, comradely and the way they are with each other, and I really love that element.
Q&A with Nicholas Lyndhurst
Nicholas Lyndhurst is Dan Griffin - a retired officer with experience in both the Murder Squad and the Diplomatic Protection Group
How would you describe your character?
He’s ex-murder squad, ex-diplomatic protection, so everything is a game of chess for him, he knows he’s going to win or he thinks he knows he’s going to win. He’s trained at reading body language and micro expressions in people’s faces and I did a bit of research in that myself. It’s fascinating, when you know how people lie. It’s so subtle.
Where is your character at the start of the new series?
Episode one is like the start of a new working case for him. But he’s got personal issues at home, his daughter is leaving for university and there’s a storyline with his wife which will be revealed further into the series. So things are complicated in terms of his private life and he doesn’t want to discuss them with the team, but he takes that to work with him every day. His armoury is watching from a distance, he’s cerebral, he’s never going to be up on the dance-floor, but he’ll be standing in the corner watching things and it’s been great to play a completely different character like Danny, it was exactly what I was looking for.
What’s the dynamic like with Tamzin and her character?
We get on very well, taking the micky out of each other, which is a sign of real affection and it’s a busy schedule, a lot to remember, so it’s nice to have that. Both mine and Tamzin’s character don’t have anything else to do but the job, the house is empty there’s no point in going home, so there’s a lot of working late.
What’s your experience of filming on location in and around London?
I had no idea how many camera phones there were in London, at one stage we were filming at Paddington Station and I just looked up and there was a sea of commuters pointing their phones at us.
What do you think is the appeal of the series?
Great scripts that keep you guessing, and the combination of cases and personal storylines. The line- up brings a different dynamic. I think the lovely thing about the series is you get a good look at the characters, away from work. It’s interesting as an actor to have even the briefest insight into one of the other character's personal life, you learn more about all the characters that way.
Q&A with Denis Lawson
Denis Lawson is Steve McAndrew – a retired detective from Glasgow CID
What can we expect from your character at the start of the new series?
We get more of a glimpse into Steve’s personal life, there’s more contact with my son and ex-wife – played by Julie Graham. At one point my son gets into trouble, so I have to have contact my ex-wife, we have to deal with this problem with our son together. It’s quite difficult for both of us as it’s still quite bitter and I think our son hopes we’ll get back together.
What’s the dynamic like with the three other characters?
The team often act as a surrogate family. Tamzin’s character meets a new man later in the series and we’re a bit like older brothers, we want to check him out when we meet this guy. We’re cross examining him, making sure he is the right kind of guy for her.
There’s an underlying humour throughout the series. Yes, it has this off-beat and sometimes eccentric humour, which is great. I always enjoy the scenes with Dennis Waterman, particularly when we’re playing comedy, we’re always finding stuff together and he’s very immediate. There’s a moment where we actually wake up in bed together after a very heavy night, no idea of where we are but we suddenly realise we’re in the same bed. We’re definitely trying to assert our masculinity.
I love that immediacy on camera with Dennis, he’ll just throw some extra lines in, and at times it’s so funny you have to try hard to hold it together.
What other cases can the audience expect this series?
One of my particular favourites is an episode Julian Simpson wrote and directed, about the Fleet River, an underground river that runs through London and we follow the source of the river, because we are investigating two unsolved murders, 20 years apart, one in Hampstead and another right at the point where the Fleet River ends, near Fleet St. What I didn’t know was this was a major river that ran through London, which has now been covered over. We follow the source of the river, though the city of London and down to the Thames and you can still see where the banks of the river were, which I loved. There’s a little graveyard behind St Pancras station, which is crammed with gravestones that Thomas Hardy the writer put there when he was an architect and that little graveyard which I’ve known for years is the banks of the Fleet River.
It was a brilliant story and interesting information to discover. We also have a very amusing and off-beat story about a Roman re-enactment society, which is quite eccentric in its storyline, the mix of writers on the series always brings something different to the series. The writing is absolutely essential.
What do you think is the appeal of New Tricks?
I think one of the great strengths of the show is the writing; it has a big part to play in the longevity and huge appeal of the series. The way the show was conceived originally and developed, has always had good writing at the heart of it, it’s very difficult to be good with bad writing. New Tricks has that with the right level of humour running through the series, along with the investigations.
Nobody can quite but their finger on why it’s so successful, I think it’s a mixture of all of those things, it keeps an audience very interested, the intricacies of plot, and then amuses them along the way, with these rather off beat characters.
What’s been your experience of filming around London?
It’s lovely when the public pass by and they’re so thrilled to see you and they love the show, it’s always lovely to get that reaction. I remember when I started on the show, my first episode came out and the next day, I have never experienced that kind of reaction in the street from men, who would go ‘great job’ - it went on for several days. I’d never really experienced that level of response on anything else I’ve worked on. It was really gratifying and shows the huge impact the series has.
Q&A with Dennis Waterman
Dennis Waterman is Gerry Standing - totally un-PC, Standing seems to be stuck in the 70s - not only in how he approaches the job, but also how he behaves socially
Where do we find the team at the start of series 11?
I think all the doubts about who this new boss Sasha Miller is and if she’s good enough were covered in the last two episodes of last series, so with the new series we’re up and running as a team.
How would you describe your character?
I don’t think much has changed with Gerry, he’s still the same old. In fact the original idea behind the series was these were ex-detectives, we did things which might be described as slightly un-PC today. I have a great line in this series, which is ‘this is not how the police work anymore’ and I respond, ‘that’s right you never nick anybody.’
What’s the dynamic like with the new line-up?
I enjoyed filming a lot of scenes with Denis Lawson, we have quite a few funny scenes together, a great storyline about how we both fall in love with the ‘sat nav lady’! We do a very interesting story about the Fleet River, written by Julian Simpson and that was fascinating finding out about an underground river in London that used to be a major route, because none of us knew anything about it, it was really interesting.
What’s your experience of filming in and around London?
It’s nice to be filming in London and you get to see the different areas. I’ve always been treated very nicely by the public, for some reason the fans think I’m like an old mate. I was with a mate of mine, walking through an airport and people were saying ‘love the show’. My friend thought it was interesting that no one had mentioned Sweeney or Minder; it was all about New Tricks.
What do you think is the appeal of New Tricks?
I think is it has a massive demographic, the fact the characters are old enough to retire but still doing the job properly, and the inherent humour in it, and the characters. Also the ‘old bill’ like it, they feel it’s exactly like they are in their office, taking the piss out of each other, you’re doing a serious job but there’s always got to be a laugh.