It’s not gone unnoticed Chief Supt Robert Vickers has been a sly old dog in Cuffs in the BBC1 crime series – especially not by his son, Jake (Jacob Ifan), who now knows his dad has been cheating on his sick mum with one of his detectives Jo Moffat (Amanda Abbington).
Cuffs actor Peter Sullivan told What’s On TV recently how he approached the awkward father/son relationship between his character, Robert, and Jake.
“I’ve got a son the same age as Jake so I did bring a bit of that particular relationship to it. When young men get to 23 or 24, they become men in their own right so the father/son relationship has to change as a result. So when you first meet Robert in the show he’s still treating Jake a bit like a kid, but by the time you get to episode eight they’re two men – one who’s young and one who’s in his late 40s.”
Robert’s fully aware that Jake is gay, but if it starts affecting Jake’s job by the relationships he chooses, Peter said Robert will come down hard on him.
“I think there’s a combination of initially wanting to protect him,” said Peter. “He’s got to make his own mistakes, though, that’s part of letting go of your kids. I’m sure there are plenty of fathers who had daughters come home and go ‘this is my new boyfriend’ and you go ‘just walk away now, I don’t want you anywhere near my daughter.’ I think it’s exactly the same with Robert and Jake. I think the first time he sees Simon, who becomes Jake’s boyfriend, he’s just like ‘stay away from my son, you don’t love him’.”
Peter said Cuffs is much different from previous police series, especially The Bill, which he worked on many years ago.
“That was my first ever job,” he laughed. “I played a slightly racist police constable in 1980-something. It was like season two or three. People are going to make comparisons, but it’s got nothing to do with The Bill. The Bill was very much a plot, procedure-led drama. This is very human. It’s got massive heart. It’s character-led. It’s got humanity and heart. Rather than concentrating on how policemen do their job every day it’s human beings who’re forced into very difficult situations.”
Cuffs screens every Wednesday, BBC1, 8pm