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Line of Duty star reveals Martin Compston almost didn't audition for hit series

Martin Compston in Line of Duty
Line of Duty favorite Martin Compston needed some encouragement to audition. (Image credit: C) World Productions - Photographer: Steffan Hill)

Line of Duty star Craig Parkinson, who played Matthew "Dot" Cottan in the hit BBC drama, has revealed that his co-star Martin Compston could have potentially not appeared in Line of Duty as he "needed a nudge" to audition for the role of Steve Arnott.

Martin's appearance as the much-loved DI Steve Arnott has since made him a household name, but it seems it could have been a different story according to Craig's Instagram post.

Sharing a picture of his Line of Duty co-stars Adrian Dunbar (Ted Hastings), Vicky McClure (Kate Fleming), Lennie James (Tony Gates) and Martin Compston, he revealed that he had to give his friend Martin "a nudge" to audition for the role they were both in the running for.

The caption read: "10 years ago… a lot has happened since… I was sent a script and asked to audition for the role of Steve in a series called Line Of Duty. I called my friend Martin. Turns out he’d been sent it too. 

"For a man of great taste, he needed a nudge. I told him he had to meet on this as I’d just read the greatest first two episodes of a new series I had ever read. 

A post shared by Craig Parkinson (@cparkinson76) (opens in new tab)

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"Myself and Martin had our auditions within minutes of each other and met prior to run our lines with each other. It was the very next day I received a call saying that the role of Steve was being offered to another actor. I asked who it was. They told me ‘Martin Compston’. 

"I was in the bath at the time, I remember that. I also remember that I was genuinely made up for my mate. They then asked how I felt about playing a role called ‘Mathew ‘dot’ Cotton. Little did I know."

The actor then went on to say how life-changing the show had been for the cast and thanked everyone for watching.

There has been no official confirmation as to when Line of Duty season 7 will be in the works. However, Adrian Dunbar has previously hinted about a movie version of the smash-hit show.

Line of Duty seasons 1-6 are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Grace Morris
Staff Writer

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides for must-watch shows and the latest TV news. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film and TV grow stronger.


You'll usually find her watching the drama unfold in the latest reality series and much-loved soaps (usually with chocolate by her side!). Grace also likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series.