The Bay shows how policing ‘takes over your life’, says ex-cop advisor

The Bay returned to our screens for its long-awaited second season in January this year, and the finale is set to air next week! With both seasons of The Bay available on BritBox as part of their ‘Crime Scene’ collection, we had a chance to chat to the police advisor on the show all about what makes it so accurate.

The Bay realistically shows how police work can become all-consuming, says a police advisor who worked on the gritty cop drama.

Malcolm Davies, a 59-year-old former Detective Inspector from Hackney, runs Cops on Film and TV, a police consultancy company, and the ITV hit is among the shows he’s helped.

Malcolm worked with star Morven Christie and mentors Daniel Ryan in his role as DI Tony Manning in The Bay season 2. And he praised the series for showing how “police officers are human beings, they’ve got a life outside the police and what you’re seeing with Manning is how it really is: it takes over your life.”

He continues: “Crime isn’t 9-5, it’s all hours. I was always told from a young age you gotta sell your soul to the devil and you’ve gotta get at least one divorce under your belt to be a good detective. Unfortunately, that’s how it is — I did a 36-hour day once on a kidnap! You are working unbelievable hours to solve these cases.”

Daniel Ryan has earned a lot of praise from viewers for his performance as DI Manning. Both he and Morven Christie play characters who find balancing their professional and personal lives extremely difficult throughout the show. Ryan reached his breaking point in season two, episode five, and one viewer singled him out for his amazing performance.

Malcolm ultimately told us these personal struggles are what make The Bay so good. For him, “a good drama shows the balance; it shows how difficult home life can be, but it also shows the hard work the police do and the different techniques they use to solve the crime”.

During our chat with Malcolm, we also spoke about the importance of realism in crime dramas and what he thinks makes British crime drama so popular. He even gave us his recommendations for other shows to watch…

When you’re working on a show is getting accurate police procedure right the main thing you’re looking to do?

Malcolm Davies: “Yes. The main reason I set the company up was because I recognised there was a gap in the market, but also I got fed up turning the television off police dramas going “this would never happen in a million years!”

Do you think shows are getting better at representing police work?

MD: “I think production companies now are realising that, in the majority of times, reality is sexier than fiction. The reality is a police investigation, 75% of the time, is boring – in the covert world as well, cause you’re sitting at an address waiting for something to move, that sort of thing. But when you pick out the bits are sexy, I think tv programmes now are switched on to getting it right.”

If there were three top crime dramas you would recommend to people, what would they be?

MD: “Happy Valley was very good, Prime Suspect I would always go for, and I think series two of The Bay has been very good. And that’s not just because we worked on it!”

Do you think there’s a reason why British crime dramas, in particular, are so popular?

MD: “I just think from British shows you get good quality production values, the majority of the time they’re well-researched and they make you wait. For example, they’re not churning The Bay out every six months. You’re waiting 18 months for another show to come along, so by the time it comes along you’re going ‘oh yeah I want more of that.’”

The Bay Season 2 concludes next Wednesday at 9pm on ITV. Happy Valley, The Bay, Prime Suspect, The Pembrokeshire Murders and more are available to stream on BritBox as part of their “Crime Scene” collection this February.

For even more shows to enjoy, check out our TV guide.

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