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Dougray Scott on BritBox's Irvine Welsh drama 'Crime': 'It's as tragic as it is triumphant!'

Crime
(Image credit: Britbox)

A passion project for Scottish actor Dougray Scott, the new BritBox drama Crime is adapted from the novel of the same name by Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, and centres on an Edinburgh cop who is battling his demons, and haunted by the past. 

Scott stars as DI Lennox, who grudgingly teams up with new partner DS Amanda Drummond (Joanna Vanderham) to investigate the disappearance of a schoolgirl. The veteran police officer is heavily invested in the case thanks to his previous involvement in a child murder case. And as well as bringing back unwanted and disturbing memories, the investigation threatens to undo the progress he has made in battling his drink and drug addictions. 

Here, 55-year-old Mission Impossible star Scott tells us more about a project he's been trying to bring to the small screen for some time... 

How would you describe your character, DI Ray Lennox? 

Crime

Haunted by demons: Dougray Scott as DI Ray Lennox in 'Crime.' (Image credit: Britbox)

“Lennox is a staunch defender of human beings. He's compassionate and empathetic, but he still has a lot of issues. He’s a very rough, fragile, avenging angel, who is determined to give a voice to those people who don't one, and to protect the vulnerable.”

Is Lennox good at his job? 

Crime

Out of his depth? Dougray Scott as DI Ray Lennox in 'Crime'. (Image credit: Britbox)

“He became a copper because he felt that was the best way to avenge what happened to him as a child. What makes him a great copper also makes him a bad one, because he's impetuous, works off the cuff and acts on instinct. He’s prepared to go down alleyways no one else will go down to find answers. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, but he’s passionate about what he does.”

Were you already an Irvine Welsh fan? 

Crime

Dougray Scott and author Irvine Welsh on the set of 'Crime'. (Image credit: Britbox)

“‘Trainspotting is one of my favourite novels of all time. It's just so connected to my experience of growing up in Scotland. I connected with those characters and that world, and to read something like that in the [Edinburgh] vernacular was really exciting for me.”

How long has it taken you to realise this project? 

“I've been involved with this project for 10 years. I went to see Irvine to try and get him to write something for me. He said: ‘Have you read Crime?’ It had just been published, and I read it and was blown away.”

There's some real gallows humour among the coppers in 'Crime'. Is that part-and-parcel of the job? 

“You can't deal with the things that the police force deals with and not have some sort of coping mechanism in order to get through the day. To be staring death in the face, or be dealing with a young girl who's been brutalised by some psychopath, there has to be a way to compartmentalise that and not be destroyed by it. Irvine is very clever at that in his writing, because he understands the reality of life. Also, for the audience, it’s a kind of relief.”

How important is the Edinburgh backdrop? 

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Partners in 'Crime': Dougray Scott and Joanna Vanderham as DI Ray Lennox and DS Amanda Drummond.  (Image credit: Britbox)

“Irvine examines a different part of Edinburgh. It’s not just the old town, new town, university, Princes Street and the castle. I was brought up on a council estate, so I understand this world, and how those voices are kind of ignored. And Irvine is passionate and bangs the drum for those people in society, and tells stories from their perspective — and that's what I love about his novels.”

Ray Lennox first appeared in Irvine Welsh's 'Filth', which was made into a film starring James McAvoy. How do the two compare?

“There’s a real emotional heart at the centre of it, with what Lennox is dealing with in his past and in the present. It's as tragic as it is triumphant. This is a very realistic portrayal of how a cop deals with these extreme situations. And it’s unmistakeably Irvine Welsh!”

Crime is available to watch on BritBox from Thursday Nov 18.