Northern Ireland

Adrian Dunbar says keeping NI accent helps with authenticity

Image copyright World Productions/BBC/Des Willie
Image caption Enniskillen-born Adrian Dunbar as Supt Ted Hastings in BBC police drama Line of Duty

Actor Adrian Dunbar says he always tries to keep his Northern Irish accent for characters because it lends them greater authenticity.

The Line of Duty star, who was born in Enniskillen, said "you don't want to be acting your way towards something".

"The sense of believability has to be great, so bringing it as close to yourself as you can always helps."

In a wide-ranging interview for BBC Talkback, the 59-year-old also said home was both London and Ireland.

Dunbar has been in the business a long time - he's a familiar face on stage and screen, and he's also directed and written plays.

But he has perhaps become best known as Supt Ted Hastings in the massively popular and award-winning BBC crime drama Line of Duty.

'Suckin' diesel'

Dunbar, who lives in Highgate, north London, said the series was a "game changer" for him.

"I have been doing stuff for a long time now and you would be in people's consciousness," he said.

"But when you get something like a gift to play Ted Hastings, and some fabulous writing to get behind and a great crew, it suddenly allows people to go - 'I always knew he was good'."

Line of Duty cast: Det Sgt Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), Supt Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), Det Sgt Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) Image copyright World Productions/BBC/Des Willie
Image caption Dunbar pictured with fellow Line of Duty cast members Martin Compston and Vicky McClure

As the stubbornly moralistic leader of a police anti-corruption unit, Supt Hastings has introduced some Northern Irish vernacular to prime-time television, such as "wee girl" and "fella".

The most famous one is probably "now we're suckin' diesel" and Dunbar has promised to try and work a few more colloquialisms into the next series of the police drama, filming for which starts towards the end of 2018.

'Completely clogged'

The success of Line of Duty has certainly increased his celebrity and as a result, Dunbar's views are sought on many issues.

He hit the headlines earlier this year after saying in an interview that he saw the Royal Ulster Constabulary as a "sectarian" and "oppressive force" when growing up in Northern Ireland.

Adrian Dunbar Image copyright ©William Cherry/Presseye
Image caption While he loves the "great world city" of London, Dunbar will be spending Christmas in Ireland

He said like most actors, he finds it difficult to negotiate that territory.

"I try and speak out on things that affect where I live in London, and at home in Enniskillen," he said.

"For instance, I am very keen we get our bypass - the town is completely clogged with traffic and it's one of the most beautiful inland towns in Ireland.

"As an artist, you try and stay above that. You don't want to alienate your audiences, so you have to be careful but yet you have to be true enough to what you believe."

You can listen to the full interview with Adrian Dunbar on BBC Talkback at 12:00 GMT on BBC Radio Ulster.

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