As The Fall returns to BBC2 next Thursday, stars Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan tells TV Times why they think their hit serial killer thriller works so well…

Gillian, the first series of The Fall and your character DSI Stella Gibson captured the public’s imaginations; was that a surprise?
Gillian: “It was the first serial TV show I decided to do post-The X Files and it has been a dream job. People responded so positively to it. When I was in London and it was airing, I didn’t get people saying. ‘There’s Gillian Anderson’ it was, ‘There’s Stella Gibson’, which was odd and very different from other experiences that I have had.”

Stella has an unflinching determination to track down serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) – what makes her tick?  
Gillian: “Stella’s passionate about her work and good at it, it’s her life. It really feels like a hunt this time and it weighs on Stella because there are still lives at risk and because she feels closer to and then increasingly further away from getting him. I enjoy the enigmatic nature of her and she responds to situations in a different way than I would choose to.”

Jamie, Spector was last seen fleeing to Scotland with his troubled but unsuspecting wife Sally Ann (Bronagh Waugh) and their children. But as his family decide to return to Belfast without him in the opening episode, it’s not long before he makes his own way back to the city. Why is he back?
Jamie: “Guys like Spector have so much confidence that what they are doing is right and that they are untouchable. So it takes a lot more than Gibson sniffing around to put him off.”

Do find out any more about the motivation behind the killings?
Jamie: “It has always been a whydunit and that is explored more now. He’s in a different place to where we see him in the first series and we get more of an understanding of the reasons why he is the way he is. In real life, so many of these guys have relatively normal lives, sound jobs, girlfriends, wives and even children and none of them know what they are getting up to…”

The series has provoked controversy due to its chilling subject matter, and the depiction of violence against women, in particular, is it gratuitous at times?
Jamie: “We don’t see it as misogynistic and unnecessarily violent towards women. It is a depiction of violence against women, but that is because violence against women happens and it’s often perpetrated by men and we’re trying to get to the bottom of why men do that rather than just showing brutality for the sake of it.”

The big question is whether Spector and Stella will finally come face-to-face this series?
Jamie: “It’s classic cat-and-mouse, but I can’t say how many moments we have together in the second series. But it’s a way of finding out if people have not watched the show when they ask me what Gillian is like to work with, because I have no idea!”