Broadwalk Empire star Stephen Graham plays a gangster in BBC1’s new crime drama Good Cop. He loves co-star Warren Brown… but don’t get him started on TOWIE!

Tell us about Noel Finch, the character you play in Good Cop?
“I’ve met people like Finch myself; a few years ago I was beaten up by nine lads, so I know there are a lot of Finches out there. Finch and his gang have this wolf-pack mentality and their level of violence is very calculated.”

You’re very good friends with Warren Brown, who plays cop John Paul Rocksavage. What was it like working with him?
“This is the third job we’ve done together after Occupation and Walk Like A Panther. Warren’s a close, close friend and I was delighted when he phoned me to say he’d got the role in Good Cop. There are a lot of t**** in this industry; people who will stab you in the back. But there are a lot of good people in this industry, too – and for me to see Warren do well, it’s quite emotional really.”

Did your friendship make it difficult to play enemies in this drama?
“To respect and trust each other so much allows us to push the boundaries within our scenes. To see if we can play characters that hate each other is a joy. It tests our abilities as actors and makes us raise our game. The director noticed the brotherhood between me and Warren and basically flipped it 360 degrees.”

Did you enjoy filming Good Cop back in your hometown, Liverpool?
“It’s always lovely to come back to the city where I was born and raised and get asked for photos and autographs and stuff. These days I get a lot of taxi drivers asking about Boardwalk Empire – I think they like that a young lad from Kirby is playing Al Capone!”

Were you surprised yourself to land the role in the HBO drama?
“Yeah, when I got the call from Marty [Scorsese], I didn’t know what to do at first, but I said yes instantly. You don’t say no to Martin Scorsese!”

What do you think of British television at the moment?
“I think we’re starting to slowly get pride back in our television as long as we stop making mind-numbingly boring reality shows like The Only Way is Essex. They are destroying our industry. You can get a cheap little crew and pay peanuts to idiots who just want to be famous. Whereas, as actors, this is our craft, it’s our job and we take pride in what we do. That’s why I like to make this kind of television. I’ll get off my soapbox now.”

Good Cop starts on BBC1 on Thursday, August 30 at 9pm.