Star of DCI Banks Stephen Tompkinson tells TV Times magazine what we can expect in the new series, and why Banks is determined to get justice…

Hi Stephen! It’s great to see you back playing DCI Banks in three new two-part adaptations, Playing With Fire, Friend of the Devil and Cold is the Grave…

“Thanks! There are 20 DCI Banks books already, and they’re still being written. So I’m hoping viewers will be becoming very familiar with the detective. What makes Banks extraordinary is his ordinariness. He’s not a super sleuth, he’s as determined as he possibly can be to get justice.”

Did you find it difficult that for its debut last year, DCI Banks was up against BBC1’s Spooks for ratings?
“Some critics said that ITV obviously didn’t hold out much hope for DCI Banks because they were scheduling it against Spooks, which has always done very well. So, we were delighted when the ratings came out and we’d got nearly seven million viewers, which meant we’d beaten Spooks. I was overwhelmed by the response we had.”

Can you tell us a little about what we’ll be seeing you get up to in the new series?
“In Cold is the Grave, my boss, Chief Superintendent Rydell (Colin Tierney), asks me as a personal favour to find his missing daughter who has absconded from boarding school and headed off to London.

“There was one scene where Banks had to lead an armed response unit to a couple of villains. I remember trying to look butch for the cameras! They were a genuine armed response team from Bradford police and they had real guns. It was so convincing when they shouted,: ‘Get Down’, two crew members hit the deck!”

Wow! That sounds exciting. Did you have any other memorable moments when filming?
“We filmed in a real mortuary just outside Bradford and there wasn’t a lot of banter. The staff reliably informed us that they had 30 ‘patients’ in the fridges on the other side of the wall to where we were shooting. It was fascinating talking to the dedicated people who worked there and we’re all going to be in good hands when we go.”

Were there any other scenes that also proved a bit tricky?
“In the first story, Playing with Fire, I had to challenge a young woman, Miranda (played by Tamzin Merchant), and she hits me because I’m investigating her husband and she thinks that I have a grudge against him. So, I had to walk into camera shot and then Tamzin’s job was to slap me as hard as she possibly could!”

DCI Banks returns on Friday September 16 at 9pm on ITV1