DCI Banks star Stephen Tompkinson has been talking about the pressures facing the cast and crew and why returning to the role of troubled Alan Banks is like ‘meeting an old friend’.

Stephen explained that fans of the crime series will get a more detailed glimpse into the personal lives of DCI Alan Banks, DS Annie Cabbot and DI Helen Morton, saying: “We’re going to peel off a few more layers… and explain what makes the characters tick.”

He added that although the cases are dark, he has a laugh behind the scenes with both the crew and his co-stars Andrea Lowe and Caroline Catz: “Murder is never a jovial subject. We always go to dark places with Banks – it’s called the Serious Crime Division for a reason!

“Gallows humour does present itself a lot. Most of the cast and crew have been working together for almost five years, so we socialise together and try to make things are pleasant as we can.”

Stephen also revealed there’s an added pressure on the new series for the team. Not only are they eager to show the audience more of the characters’ home lives, this is the first year the stories are not directly based on Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks novels.

Although Peter is a still a background presence, Stephen confessed: “This is the first year we’ve gone away form Peter’s original novels… we’re flying without his safety net!”

For more, watch Stephen’s full interview, above.