In Spotlight: Daniel Mays’ best TV shows and films - from Line of Duty and White Lines to 1917 and Des

Daniel Mays is back on our TV screens playing DCI Peter Jay alongside David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen in crime drama Des, but where have you seen the Essex actor before?

By Sophia Moir Published: 9 September 2020 - 6.53pm
BBC / Netflix / ITV

From big-budget dramas and cult police procedurals, to Oscar-winning films and even a Star Wars spin-off, Daniel ‘Danny’ Mays has had something of a varied on-screen career.

In fact the Essex-born actor’s CV has been so exhaustive in recent years that you’ve probably already seen him in a TV show or movie.

Ahead of the 42-year-old’s appearance in ITV’s Des, we've rounded up Daniel Mays' top TV and film roles below - including Line of Duty, White Lines, 1917 and Ashes to Ashes.

Des - DCI Peter Jay

Mays is set to star as Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay in ITV's new three-part crime drama, Des.

Based on a true story, DCI Peter Jay brought serial killer Dennis Nilsen (played by David Tennant) to justice after he murdered at least 12 boys and young men between 1978 and 1983.

Des starts Monday, September 14 on ITV.

Code 404 - DI John Major

Playing a very different kind of policeman, 2020 also saw Mays star as DI John Major alongside Stephen Graham as DI Roy Carver in Sky One's buddy cop comedy, Code 404

The series saw Mays' character DI Major gunned down on the job, before his body is fast-tracked into a new Artificial Intelligence project to bring him back from the dead. A second series has been confirmed.

Code 404 season 1 is available to watch on Sky One with NOW TV.

White Lines - Marcus Ward

Also in 2020 - it’s been a busy year for Daniel Mays! - he appeared as DJ Marcus Ward in Netflix's sun-soaked drama, White Lines.

Marcus is a childhood friend of Axel Collins, who went missing in Ibiza some 20 years earlier. Despite the success of the show - which was from the makers of Money Heist - Mays recently confirmed that it won't be returning for a second series.

Mini-series White Line is available to watch on Netflix.

1917 - Sergeant Sanders

In a major film role for Mays, he starred alongside Colin Firth, Andrew Scott and Benedict Cumberbatch in the Oscar-winning World War I epic, 1917.

The movie, which was released in 2019, saw Mays play Sergeant Sanders, the sergeant of the two main characters, Lance Corporals Schofield and Blake.

1917 is available to buy on Amazon Prime Video.

Temple - Lee Simmons

Mays played tube worker Lee Simmons in Sky One's 2019 medical drama Temple, alongside Mark Strong as Daniel Milton - a surgeon who's drawn into the world of the underground clinic.

Mays' character Simmons helps Milton establish the illegal underground clinic, and finds meaning in his life after doing so. It's been renewed for a second season.

Temple season 1 is available to watch on Sky One with NOW TV.

Good Omens - Arthur Young

In 2019, Mays appeared in Amazon Prime Video's big-budget adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's cult fantasy novel, Good Omens.

He played Arthur Young - the father of Adam Young, the reluctant Antichrist accidentally placed in the family's custody.

Mini-series Good Omens is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video. Prime subscription required.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Tivik

The Essex actor joined the Star Wars universe in 2016, playing Tivik in the Star Wars spin-off film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Tivik is an insurgent figure in the film, who's an informant for Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and tells the rebels of the existence of the Death Star.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is available to buy on Amazon Prime Video.

Line of Duty - Sergeant Danny Waldron

One of Mays' most famous roles is playing Sergeant Danny Waldron in series 3 of Jed Mercurio's hit police procedural, Line of Duty, in 2016.

Starring alongside Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Adrian Dunbar, Mays' character was a Sergeant and Authorised Firearms Officer with Central Police. His stunning performance earned him a Bafta nomination.

Line of Duty seasons 1-5 are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Mrs Biggs - Ronnie Biggs

In 2012, Mays portrayed the Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs in five-part mini series Mrs Biggs, penned by Jeff Pope.

Mays was nominated for a National Television Award for the role, alongside his co-star Sheridan Smith who played his wife, Charmian Biggs. 

Mini-series Mrs Biggs is available to watch on BritBox.

Ashes to Ashes - Jim Keats

Starring alongside fellow Line of Duty alum Keeley Hawes, Mays played DCI James "Jim" Keats in BBC science fiction/police drama Ashes to Ashes in 2010.

Keats claimed to have been sent from the Discipline and Complaints department of Scotland Yard to assess Fenchurch East CID but in reality, he was a malevolent spirit who aimed to destroy the division and bring its members to his department.

Ashes to Ashes seasons 1-3 are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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