The Responder: BBC shares first look trailer for gritty new front-line police drama fronted by Martin Freeman

Former police officer-turned-writer Tony Schumacher brings his experience of the night beat to the small screen in an emotional five-part cop drama.

By Katie Archer Published: 23 November 2021 - 12.58pm
Drama Crime Drama

Martin Freeman

BBC Martin Freeman in police costume as as Chris, a crisis-stricken, morally compromised, unconventional urgent response officer

Line of Duty might be over for another series, but while we begin the agonising wait to find out whether there will be a series seven, BBC One has plenty more detective dramas lined up.

One of those we’re most looking forward to is The Responder starring Martin Freeman, which brings an ex-copper’s authentic touch to the writing.

Here’s everything we know so far about the early stages of production for the series.

What is The Responder about?

Penned by ex-police officer Tony Schumacher, this is his first original series for television and he’s on familiar ground as he focuses on the emotional extremes of life on the front line of British policing.

The Responder follows urgent response officer Chris on a series of night shifts on his beat in Liverpool.

But Chris has more than just the job to worry about as his personal life has been hit by crisis and he is morally compromised in his work.

He’s forced to take on rookie partner Rachel, but despite his reluctance they both soon realise that survival in the high-pressure world of night-time crime will hinge on whether they can support or destroy each other.

Martin Freeman said: "Tony Schumacher’s scripts were so unique and honest that I knew very quickly that I wanted to be a part of The Responder and take on the role of Chris. No-one writes like Tony and it has been exhilarating inhabiting the world he has created."

Tony Schumacher said: "My fantasy casting when I was writing the character of Chris in the Responder was Martin Freeman. Seeing that fantasy become reality is beyond exciting.

"Martin is one of the great British actors. He brings such a well of talent and humanity that breathes magic into the words I've been lucky enough to give him. I can’t wait for audiences to get to see his performance in this role, it’s one I feel very lucky to have had a front row seat for."

BBC executive producer Mona Qureshi said: “The Responder is a unique take on modern policing, and Tony Schumacher gives us in Chris a heartbreakingly honest portrait of a man coming undone by the pressures around him.”

Who will star in The Responder?

Martin Freeman stars in the lead role of Chris, and will be best known to viewers for his work in Sherlock, The Hobbit, Fargo and Nativity!.

Series writer Schumacher said: “I'm so incredibly fortunate to be writing for a cast as amazing as the one we've assembled for The Responder.

“From legends at the top of their game, to young talents who are legends in waiting, it's a writer's dream come true.”

Adelayo Adedayo Getty

Freeman is joined by Adelayo Adedayo (Unsaid Stories, Timewasters) as Rachel.

Other cast so far includes Ian Hart (Tin Star, The Last Kingdom, The Terror), MyAnna Buring (The Salisbury Poisonings, The Witcher, Ripper Street), Kerrie Hayes (Tin Star, The English Game, The Mill) and Warren Brown (Luther, Liar).

The Responder will also star David Bradley (After Life, Broadchurch) and Rita Tushingham (The Pale Horse, In The Flesh).

When is The Responder released?

A release date for The Responder has yet to be confirmed.

It will run to five episodes and will eventually air on BBC One.

Where is The Responder filmed?

Filming took place in and around the Liverpool City Region in March 2021.

Is there a trailer?

Yes, the first trailer was released in November 2021. You can watch it here:

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