7 Questions with… Bulletproof’s Ashley Walters and Noel Clarke - The British Bad Boys are back for more undercover action
Bishop and Pike are back in action for a second series of adrenaline-fuelled drama on NOW TV. We find out what fans can expect from the new episodes.
Complete Bulletproof series 2 Box Set available on March 20 with the NOW TV Entertainment Pass
If you love classic buddy-cop films like Lethal Weapon and Bad Boys, Bulletproof is the show for you.
Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters took the classic US cop show formula, brought it to the streets of London and installed it with British humour.
Taking place a year after the events of series 1, the new episodes drag undercover cops Bishop and Pike (Walters and Clarke) into their most dangerous case yet.
Taking on notorious Greek Cypriot crime family the Markides, Bishop and Pike are in a heart-stopping game of cat and mouse that spreads far beyond London and the UK.
We fired seven questions at Clarke and Walters to find out what we can expect from the new series…
1. Where does series 2 begin?
Ashley Walters: It's about a year after season one. So, the unit has a couple of new members because of what obviously happened to Nell and Kamali. Pike's marriage is a little bit stressed because of what happened last time - the daughter was kidnapped so quite understandably his wife's a little bit more tentative about what's going on.
Bishop is trying to find someone that can replace Nell, but isn't having much luck. They're just going about their business and then they happen to come across some lost money at the end of a raid and it leads them down a rabbit-hole in to one of the biggest crime families in Europe. That's essentially the story that we start delving in to.
2. You’ve filmed in Amsterdam. What was that for?
Ashley: It's not a big spoiler, to be honest. It's all a part of the investigation in to the Markides family. It takes us over there briefly. Just being able to get out of the UK and experience our characters in different places and see how we fare was a good look. It was good fun.
Noel Clarke: Amsterdam was great. There's a big car chase and you get a real sense of the city with the cars zipping down the canals and stuff like that. As we're making the show bigger and more ambitious, it's good to get abroad and to show these British guys over there.
In the story they’re working with the Dutch police but in real life we got to work with Dutch crews. It was good for us to see that while this is a British show but actually it can travel and it does work in other countries.
3. How have you made series 2 bigger and better?
Ashley: One of our main things for this season was to up the stunts and the action aspect but also to match that with the drama and the character-based work that we do as well. It has taken us in the direction of doing the whole undercover storyline because we're kind of acting acting.
The minute you go undercover, we're Bishop and Pike but now we're taking on new personas as well and that was really cool to do. Main thing for me was just to make sure that the action and the way we shoot the stunts and how the stunts look are right up there. We've really pushed it - pushed the envelope.
4. Did anything go wrong while filming?
Ashley: There's always accidents in this show! Actually, we've been alright this season. Last season was touch and go: Noel had an accident that nearly took him out for good, but we managed to get him back. This season I think we've all been OK but stuff happens. With the stunts that we're trying to do, it's hard to keep them safe all the time!
5. What are the car chase scenes like to film?
Ashley: It's a technical process. When you do scenes like that, you're filming the same scene at least three times. They'll film with the stunt doubles. They'll film a stunt double with Noel sitting next to him. Then they'll film me and Noel, and then we might go the other way around.
But when I'm driving, God it's fun. I've always loved driving. I've always been into cars and into speed really. So, yes. Season 1, I was pushing and sometimes without permission, just doing a lot more than I was meant to.
This season before we started shooting, I was like, "I want to do more of my own driving". They sent me on a rally course which is cool.
Noel: Bishop doesn't really like the speed and doesn't really like the crazy driving and whatnot. He'd much rather be chasing and shooting.
It all came from when we were working the show out we asked, "Who's going to do the driving?" And me just saying, "I don't like driving".
I'm not a fan of driving. I'm not a fan of cars. I drove the same Polo for 14 years before I sold it and I only sold it because I had kids that were squished up in the back.
6. Was it important to you that the show included the family lives of Bishop and Pike?
Ashley: So important. We're both married, we're both family men. We both were pretty sick of black male representation on TV, to be fair up until this point, especially when it comes to family and how they are with their kids and whatever. It was important for us to make that family dynamic solid.
A real married couple that are not fighting all the time and problems or whatever. Just married and dealing with real life issues and how would it be in this job. Kids are doing well at school. Dad's involved in their lives and if he's not, mum wants him to be. I think that stuff is important.
We got a lot of reactions from that from season one. I think it's so important for us to be in this position as execs, as producers and co-creators: we need to use that voice for good. It's not all just about action and drama and entertainment. Sometimes it's about changing perceptions in the media.
7. What does Bulletproof add to the cop show genre?
Ashley: We're bringing a new audience to this genre and obviously that's because of who we are and what we'd done in the past. Bringing them into the fold and them enjoying it was one of our things that we said from the beginning we wanted to do - we understand that there's this huge stigma around police, especially in our communities.
Maybe in the future, somewhere along the line, there might be some kids around going, “I want to be like Bishop and Pike”, and they will end up getting into that field.
The complete Bulletproof series 2 Box Set is available on March 20 with the NOW TV Entertainment Pass.