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Tim Ifield

Played by Jason Watkins

What attracted you to the role and how did you come to be involved?

I’ve always been a fan of Jed and I worked with him many years ago, his writing is just brilliant. We are huge fans of Line Of Duty so on set I was fighting being star-struck and being a fan whilst trying to work at the same time. When I was offered to be in what is probably one of the BBC’s best if not TV’s best cop shows, it was a no brainer. I was very fortunate to be asked.

I’ve been lucky since the BAFTAs, things have changed quite a bit for me, but you don’t expect for something as top quality as this to be on offer. I’m just delighted that they thought of me.

What can you tell us about Tim as a character and what research did you do?

I did a bit of research. I got to know a policeman up in Cumbria via Twitter and he said if you ever need to do any research then come and see us. I was filming something nearby so I nipped up the coast and I met a Forensic Coordinator.

Tim’s a forensics expert, not only is he a very detailed and brilliant practitioner but he is meticulous and professional. Often these guys can solve the case themselves and I think because they have the ability to do that, sometimes there’s friction between other departments.

Is that what happens with his character and DCI Roz Huntley?

Both partners are doing the same job - the forensics and the police team, they’re trying to catch a criminal. Tim is senior in his role and if you’re a forensic expert and you’re being meticulous in order to solve a case and you’ve got someone who is in a rush to prove what they think is right or they make assumptions about the case which are convenient to get the case solved and to be seen to be successful - for someone who is forensically minded that’s a difficult fit. The friction between Tim and Roz comes from that. There is a moral call to be made as well as a procedural one and I think if you’re, like Tim, forensically minded and meticulous then it’s hard to square that.

What was it like working with Thandie?

It was great working with everybody on it and what an amazing experience to be able to work with someone like Thandie Newton. She has an incredible charisma on screen and is great to work with. It’s always worth saying when you meet people as successful as her, that it’s always incredibly refreshing to see how hard they work. For someone of her ability as an actor to have her work ethic is pretty extraordinary and that’s why she’s been so successful. People can see that great talent but she works incredibly hard, as everyone on that show does. It sounds very obvious but the best work is when people work their hardest.

Line Of Duty is moving from BBC Two to BBC One. Why do you think it resonates with people so well?

It’s a benchmark in police dramas. It’s great that it’s going to be shown on BBC One after all the work that’s been done by the whole team. It should be seen on BBC One. People went to BBC Two to watch it and now they’ll follow it to BBC One and maybe other people will think "let’s take a look at that" and they’ll enjoy it.

It’s a standalone piece; you don’t have to have watched it previously to understand the back stories.

One of the strengths of Line Of Duty is the level of detail. Jed’s got this incredible facility for detail which not only makes the series more real but it also draws in audiences. There is obviously a fascination with police procedure and stories about the police and there are other series that reflect that but what marks out Line Of Duty is not only the expert thriller structure and the characters lurking in the shadows, but this attention to detail.

I’ve always been a fan of Jed and I worked with him many years ago, his writing is just brilliant. We are huge fans of Line Of Duty so on set I was fighting being star-struck and being a fan whilst trying to work at the same time. When I was offered to be in what is probably one of the BBC’s best if not TV’s best cop shows, it was a no brainer. I was very fortunate to be asked.

I’ve been lucky since the BAFTAs, things have changed quite a bit for me, but you don’t expect for something as top quality as this to be on offer. I’m just delighted that they thought of me.