Adrian Dunbar on the return of Blood: ‘All families are dysfunctional!’

Adrian Dunbar talks reprising his role as disgraced GP Jim Hogan for the return of psychological thriller Blood, and the future of Line of Duty…

The first series of Channel 5’s psychological thriller Blood in 2018 shocked fans when it was finally revealed that upstanding GP Jim Hogan (played by Line of Duty’s Adrian Dunbar) had fulfilled his wife Mary’s dying wish to help end her life after she told him she knew he’d stolen money from a patient.

And as the six-part psychological thriller returns – with a double-bill on Monday and showing all this week – it seems life is as complicated as ever for Jim and his family.

After a year away, Jim has returned to rural Ireland. His medical licence has been revoked, and his home sold to cover his legal bills. Jim’s worried about daughter Fiona (Grainne Keenan), who’s suffering from Motor Neurone Disease, just like her mother did, and it’s clear all is not well between her and husband Paul (Ian Lloyd Anderson).

Family ties: Adrian Dunbar (centre) plays Jim Hogan alongside Grainne Keenan as Fiona and Ian Lloyd Anderson as Paul…

Jim’s invited to stay at a farmhouse owned by a rich couple and offers to help out on the farm to pay his way. It’s not long, though, before Jim stumbles on what he thinks is a drug ring operating out of the farm and vows to expose it – but at what cost?

Meanwhile, tragedy strikes when Fiona’s car veers off the road and crashes into a canal. As the vehicle is retrieved, detectives make a disturbing discovery…

TV Times chats to Adrian, 61 – best known as Line of Duty’s Superintendent Ted Hastings – about the trouble with families and being a household name…

Why do you think the first series of Blood was such a hit?

“I think it’s because it’s about family dynamics and we’re all experts when it comes to families. Show me a family and I’ll show you dysfunction. Jim and his family are very dysfunctional, and that’s where the drama exists. Plus, it’s just a really good yarn.”

What do we discover about Jim when Blood returns?

“He’s come back to Ireland after a year away. There was a court case and he avoided going to prison and he’s tried to run away from everything a bit. But he realises his family needs him, so he comes back but his status is completely diminished because he’s not allowed to practice as a GP anymore and he’s now having to rely on charity. Plus, he’s still ‘the man who killed his wife’, so he’s carrying that stigma with him, too!”

Blood S2 Jim and Paul

The outsider: Jim wants to settle back into life in Ireland. But will he be welcome when he makes a shock discovery?

What do you enjoy most about playing Jim?

“Jim is a good character. He gives me lots of scope to do things and to be a bit different. I’m trying to push him on a bit in this series, because I do think that when things happen to you, it changes you. There’s a more world-hardened edge to him this time because he’s been through it a bit. And he’s got a bit tougher.”

MORE: Jodie Comer on the return of Killing Eve

So how does the story unfold?

“Well, as usual in Blood, not everyone is in possession of all the facts, least of all the audience! This series has turned the spotlight onto Jim’s daughter Fiona, to see what’s happening in her life. Jim’s there to support her, but he doesn’t really know what’s happening in her life – and she doesn’t really want to tell him. People are keeping secrets from each other, which gradually get revealed as the story goes on. It shows once again how, sometimes, you can find yourself doing the wrong things for the right reasons.”

Blood S2 Grainne Keenan as Fiona Crowley

In distress: Will Jim find out what’s troubling daughter Fiona (Grainne Keenan)?

You’re currently taking a break from filming the sixth series of Line of Duty due to the Coronavirus crisis. What do people say to you about that show when you meet them out and about?

“People like the character of Ted and they love the show. I was in Tesco the other day and a woman said: ‘Oh, you don’t look as fat as you do on the TV. Must be that white shirt.’ I think people like how inept Ted is. Everybody’s so sophisticated these days, with lots of empathy and understanding and all that. You wouldn’t get that from Ted. Women in particular want to change Ted in some way. At least to get him out of that bedsit!”

Adrian Dunbar plays Ted Hastings in Line of Duty

Adrian is best known for his role as Supt. Ted Hastings in BBC1 cop drama Line of Duty…

Are you always amazed where writer Jed Mercurio can go with the series?

“Yeah. It really is extraordinary. I suppose as long as the public have an appetite to stick with it, touch wood, we’ll all keep doing it.”

Blood returns with a double bill on Monday April 27 and continues across the week.

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