The battle between police and criminals in Brighton can be seen in BBC1’s new pre-watershed police drama Cuffs (Wednesday, October 28), set in the lively south-coast city. Its star Ashley Walters is, for once, playing a character he calls a positive role model.
In a fast-paced first episode there’s everything from a fight on the town’s famous nudist beach to a child abduction case and a violent racist attack. There’s also a thrilling police car chase and daring ATM machine robbery.
At the centre of the action is no-nonsense PC Ryan Draper, played by ex Hustle star Ashley, who told What’s On TV explained the background of his Cuffs character and the new show.
“Ryan’s a goody two shoes cop who likes to play everything by the book and keep everything above board. His whole part of the response team is that he also has to train newcomers for 10 weeks. He’s very regimented in how he thinks and wants to teach them the rules and how they should play things. When he bumps into new cop Jake (Jacob Ifan), it kind of throws that all up in the air and he has to question himself about it.”
There’s plenty of running around Brighton for Ashley and Jacob, who plays the rookie cop who Ryan is mentoring.
“We had to run around a lot! Don’t think we were doing any kind of fake running! The last scene I shot in Brighton I ran for at least three hours and I was just exhausted. I never took it into consideration how hard, how physically draining this job would be, but it’s only a fraction of what the real police have to go through.”
As well as being a committed police officer, Ryan is also a loving single father who’s been recently widowed, so he’s bringing up a teenage son and daughter by himself…
“He’s dedicated to his children and he’s all about them understanding the reality of life – you have to educate yourself and you have to get a good job and he doesn’t want them going down the wrong route,’ explains Ashley. “I’m a father myself and I take a lot of pride in the fact that I’m dedicated to my kids and what they need. It was beautiful for once to be playing the role of a good father, a positive role model. That’s what I’m all about and I would love to see more of that on TV.
“Cuffs isn’t just cops and robbers, it’s also about the lives behind closed doors and sometimes it can get really gritty, people are silently going through a lot of stuff you don’t talk about at work. You see that these people are human, they are not robots out there to put fear in you. They are there to help, serve and protect you. Cuffs reflects that and it shows a really good side to the police as much as it can.”
Watch the interview with Ashley Walters, above.