John Hannah stars in Sky1’s new spoof cop show A Touch of Cloth next week. Here, John talks about playing it straight…

What attracted you to the role of DCI Jack Cloth in A Touch of Cloth?
“Let’s be honest, we’re all sick of cop shows. I came back from doing Spartacus in the US last year and was bracing myself to play another cop, doctor or lawyer. But when I read this script it was just so different and silly. Though I do wonder who’s going to employ me after this!”

Was it difficult to keep a straight face during filming?
“When the characters said something ridiculous, we couldn’t do a comic look. The director insisted we played it straight like we’re doing Messiah or Luther – something really worthy. People are being killed for heaven’s sake – how can it possibly be funny?”

Have you cringed at any lines you’ve had to say?
“Totally! You think these are supposed to be intelligent people, but the thing I’ve always hated about the structure of TV drama is the slight recap after ad breaks and characters having to constantly call you by your name. Who in real life calls their partner by their name?”

Did you have any favourite scenes with Suranne Jones, who plays Anne Oldman?
“I enjoyed the whole sexual tension thing with Suranne. There’s this whole sequence where once we recognise there’s a bit of a frisson there. I say: ‘But you’re gay’, and she says: ‘Bi, Jack’. We flog that horse quite a bit.”

You’re already filming the second series of A Touch of Cloth. What teasers can you give us?
“The next one is a spoof undercover bank robbery heist movie. I don’t do my own action scenes though, I get bruised far too easily. You’ve got to give your juniors that kind of stuff.”

A Touch of Cloth screens on Sunday August 26 and Monday August 27 at 9pm on Sky1.