The 7.39 star talks about filming the fight scenes and car chases for his gritty new BBC1 three-part drama, The Driver

What’s The Driver about?

“Well, I play Vince, who’s a struggling taxi driver from Manchester. He’s married with two teenage kids and he ends up getting embroiled in being the driver for this gangster. At first he finds it exciting… it fills a gap in his life.”

The gap is that his son has disappeared and joined a cult…

“Yes, but he and his wife Ros (Claudie Blakley) haven’t been dealing with the grief they have about the loss of their boy. They also blame each other. Then by the time they decide to confront their feelings, Vince is too far down the line with the criminal fraternity for him to get out easily. It’s too late.”

Will people be able to relate to Vince?

“He’s a very recognisable character. He’s not on the breadline, but he’s not far off it. That would be fine if his relationship with his wife hadn’t broken down. You see a man who’s essentially a good man, but one who makes bad decisions. He’s not a villain, but he’s definitely on the wrong side of the law.”

The series is very action-packed with lots of car chases! Were there some hairy moments during filming?

“Yes! In one little stretch of filming we had to head to a wall at 80mph, then handbrake turn away from the wall and then head straight to a dustbin cart heading the other way. There was also a lot of physical stuff and fight scenes, so there were a few cuts and bruises! Luckily our stunt team was second to none.”

Your best mate Ian Hart (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) plays ex-con Colin, the one who drags Vince into the criminal underworld. How did you find working with him?

“I’ve known Ian since I was a little kid when we grew up in Liverpool and I’ve been looking for a project for us to work on for a long time. I’ve worked with friends in the past and it can be a bit sticky sometimes, but working with Ian was great.”

Were there any scenes where you had to fight each other?

“Yes, there were some very challenging scenes between us where we had to really go at each other! You have to trust someone in those scenes, but luckily I trust Ian implicitly.”

The Driver starts on Tuesday, September 23 at 9pm on BBC1