Bradley Walsh returns as DS Ronnie Brooks for a new series of Law & Order: UK (Thurs, Sept 9 – not STV) next week.

In the first episode, he investigates when a toddler goes missing – and CCTV footages reveals that the last time he was alive, he was being led away by two young girls.

Ex-Coronation Street star Bradley chats about the hard-hitting storylines and what’s coming up for Ronnie this year…

You’re back for a third series of Law & Order: UK – are you pleased with the reception the show’s had?
“Absolutely. It’s been phenomenal really. I couldn’t have wished for more. The show itself, globally as a brand, has set itself in stone and everyone said it was going to be difficult to try and emulate that as a brand in Britain. But it just really took off and I know ITV are really pleased. People watch it here and abroad and say it’s a fantastic show and ask when the new series will be on. I’m very proud of it and very privileged to be a part of it.”

Episode one of the new series involves the shocking death of a toddler. What can you tell us about it?
“It’s a great piece of drama and one of the best episodes, in my opinion, that there has been. The actress who played the mum, Lorraine Stanley, was absolutely brilliant. The great thing about this first episode is we’re all involved in it in a very, very heavy way, in that we all have our opinions and thoughts of the way it should be dealt with, right up the director of the CPS played by Bill Patterson. Wait until you see it. It’s quite extraordinary.”

What changes will we see in Ronnie’s character this year?
“Ronnie is Ronnie. I was very lucky to be able to hit the ground running with him. I don’t think there’s anything new there. I think with Ronnie, he’s seen it all and done it all. Now he’s just galloping, or I should say strolling, towards retirement, but just trying to keep the baddies off the street. But there are still things that will surprise him and still startle him after all these years on the police force.”

Ronnie’s sidekick, DS Matt Devlin, has a hard-hitting storyline coming up when he investigates a ring of abuse. How is Ronnie involved?
“Ronnie sees Matt as his son. I think Ronnie really has a great amount of feeling for Matt and they get on great. Obviously like everyone else they have the odd cross word, but Ronnie will maintain that whenever Matt needs him he will be there and vice versa. If he needs advice he’ll give advice, but he won’t butt in unless asked. He’ll wait on the sidelines and be there for Matt.”

How is it when you all get back together for filming?
“I love working with the guys. Jamie (Bamber who plays Matt) and I have great fun. He’s a wonderful actor, I’ve learned so much from him. I’m so pleased we start filming again soon. I’m really looking forward to it.”

We’ve noticed Ronnie seems to eat a lot during his scenes, doesn’t he?
“It’s a nightmare for me because I end up putting on so much weight! And I bulk up for the role anyway. And then I’ve to lose it all when we’ve finished filming so I can go and do my other stuff!”