Will Mellor stars in new crime drama No Offence (Tuesday, May 4), starting on Channel 4 this week. Here, the Broadchurch and ex-Hollyoaks actor talks about playing a detective and admits he’s not afraid to be a have-a-go hero in real life…

Tell us about DC Spike Tanner, the character you play in No Offence?

“Spike’s a detective who has a strong moral compass, lots of fire in his belly and likes to get results. He’s a family man, with children, so there are certain cases that get under his skin, so he can get a bit worked up sometimes in interviews. But he just wants to catch the bad guys and put people behind bars who deserve it.”

What’s his boss DI Vivienne Deering (Getting On’s Joanna Scanlan) like?

“Deering might be a woman, but she’s got balls! She’s very straight down the line and says things that aren’t too ladylike at times, but that’s just how she is. Deering’s a true leader: men respect her and so do women.”

How do Deering and Spike work together?

“Spike likes being Deering’s right-hand man. When Deering needs to get something out of somebody, she sends Spike in – he likes being the big piece in Deering’s puzzle to get the job done.”

The show’s written by Shameless creator Paul Abbott – is that something that appealed to you?

“It was, yeah. This show doesn’t pull any punches. When you’re a detective, possibly seeing death every day, you have to find the light in the shade, so some of the banter between these officers will shock people. They are not politically correct at all!”

Do you think that’s what makes No Offence different to other cop shows on TV?

“Yes, I do. We’re not trying to make just another detective show, we’re trying to create a new genre and, hopefully, find a new audience. Hopefully it works – it’s quite difficult to do that and get it right.”

Has it been nice filming No Offence in your hometown of Manchester?

“Yes, I love it! This job is really scratching the itch for me because I don’t live in Manchester any more – me and my family live in the countryside down south now. But I’ve never really ‘left’ Manchester – for me it’s the one of the best cities in the country, by a mile.”

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve done while playing detective?

“The main story arc, about a serial killer, is much darker than usual, so we’ve been filming some really gritty stuff. In episode one, one of the characters has to dive into a river to pull a dead body out – and we were filming that till five in the morning! It was proper spooky because of the way the scene was lit. It left me thinking: ‘Man, people have to do this for a real job!'”

Do you think you’d make a good cop in real life?

“Well, I’ve always been a bit of a protector. I once saw a kid nicking another lad’s bike, so I got out of my car, chased the thief up the road and got the bike back. I’m always doing things like that – I don’t believe in people doing wrong and getting away with it, so I just have to get involved.”