'Manhunt' cop Colin Sutton on Martin Clunes playing him

Colin Sutton
Manhunt is based upon the diaries and case notes of ex-detective Colin Sutton (Image credit: ITV)

Manhunt season 2 sees Martin Clunes stepping back into the shoes of DCI Colin Sutton as ITV's true crime drama returns. 

DCI Sutton is seen on the hunt for a serial rapist who terrorised elderly ladies in South London for 17 years.

The first episode begins in 2009 as 'Minstead Man' begins another spate of burglaries and rapes, yet with the police no closer to catching him than when he began his despicable crime spree back in 1992, DCI Sutton is brought in to take a look at the investigation...

Screenwriter Ed Whitmore used Colin's real-life diaries and case notes to create the series and the former detective, who's now retired after successfully leading 30 murder investigations during his career, acted as a consultant during filming. Here he tells us all about it... 

Colin Sutton on Martin Clunes' performance in Manhunt 2... 

"It was strange watching him at first, but I finally got over it by the end of the first series," he says. "Martin does it so well and he's got my mannerisms. My family says he's just a taller, thinner version of me. But I think the strangest thing is the fact that aspects of my everyday job are now of so much interest to other people!

"I just feel absolutely honoured and privileged to have had the opportunity to tell the stories that I wanted to tell, because I think they were stories that that deserved telling. I think the people who worked on this case deserve to have their work recognised." 

Colin on the new series

"It's a very different case and a much less well-known series of crimes to those of Levi Bellfield [covered in the first Manhunt]," he explains. "There are lots of reasons for that, some of which we explore in the drama. We ask how do society, how do the police, how to social services, how does everybody treat our elderly? That's coming to sharp focus over the last 18 months with the virus. We've been able to explore that and it's a useful byproduct of telling the story."

Manhunt 2

Martin Clunes reprises his role as DCI Colin Sutton. (Image credit: ITV)

Colin on reliving the case...

"I found it to be emotional in the same places where it was emotional when it happened for real," he explains. "But I think there's a great deal of good that's done by telling these stories, because they reassure people that even when wicked people do these terrible things, there are still good people who can do things about it. 

"You have to have a kind of a thick skin to do the job that I did for so long. But very occasionally, there are some things that do pierce that and stay with you. On one or two occasions in this case that happened and I think the scene that will stand out to people is the one that's still at the front of my mind, every time I think about this case." 

Colin on a potential third series of Manhunt...

"I think there might be," said Colin when asked if there were more cases from his history that could make for good TV shows. "I wasn't sure if we should come back and do another one after we did the first one. But Ed and I are thinking about it and we're talking about maybe doing a third. I have to say it's a possibility!"

Yet the show's writer Ed Whitmore seemed far more confident on the possibility of more series and when asked if he was writing another script at a recent press junket, he replied... "100% yeah, absolutely. As Colin says, we are talking about that right now and it's a possibility for sure."

Manhunt 2

DCI Colin Sutton used fresh tactics to catch 'Minstead Man' (Image credit: ITV)

Colin on his former colleagues' reaction to the first series...

"They took the mick out of me a bit as I’d expected them to, in fact I'd have been disappointed if they hadn't!" he explains. "But I got all kinds of emails and Twitter messages from police officers of all ranks telling us we’d done a good job. They said we showed what the police do in an authentic way, which was wonderful because that was what we’d been trying to do with the series." 

Colin on whether he misses being a detective...

"No, I don't," he explains. "I miss the clowns, but I don't miss the circus. I still keep in touch with lots of people, but my son is a policeman and it seems to be a very different policing world out there now. I'm not sure that I could really say that I miss it."

Sean Marland

Sean is a Senior Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week, who also writes for whattowatch.com. He's been covering the world of TV for over 15 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are I'm Alan Partridge, The Wire, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.