Martin Shaw talks to TV Times magazine about the new series of Inspector George Gently (BBC1, Sunday)…

How has it been working with Kevin Whately on this series of George Gently?
“Kevin has been really lovely. Right from the first moment we were like old comrades.”

You must have had a lot to talk about!
“We shared our experiences of all our years in the profession. We have both had our own series for a long time, so there was a lot to talk about. Kevin is well known for being one of the nicest people in television.”

Had you met before?
“I have met him before, although only briefly. But I have seen his work. It is hard to avoid! And he is one of a few people who knows the pressure and strain of leading a series.”

There are some amazing guest stars in this series…
“Apart from Kevin, we have Helen Baxendale, Mark Gatiss, Ralph Brown, Eamonn Walker, Roger Lloyd Pack, Geraldine Somerville and Alison Steadman.”

That’s an impressive list!
“The most extraordinary bunch of people. And almost universally, when they come on the show, they say they are there because they love it. It really is very gratifying.”

In this series, Bacchus is maturing, but Gently’s heartbreak shows no sign of diminishing…
“He carries around this awful, crippling grief from the loss of his wife. And I don’t think he was probably a particularly balanced human being in the first place.”

How would you describe him?
“He is a very honest, clear and open sort of man, the type of person who would probably connect and fall in love just once. He is trying to cope with life afterwards. I think the whisky bottle is quite an influence on his life – you see that throughout the series.”

Do you think the show can continue to grow?
“We are settling more and more into our own style and the public seems to like it. We are very proud, even repeats of Inspector George Gently shown at the same time as major sporting events still get decent ratings.”

Do you have any favourite moments from filming this series?
“I think the highlight this time was being able to work in Durham Cathedral, in the last episode with Kevin. That was just delicious. To have two full days in that extraordinary space was a great privilege. I’m a regular visitor there, whenever I have time off during the filming. It’s such a special place…”