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Stephen Tompkinson: 'Why shows like DCI Banks are so popular'

Stephen Tompkinson thinks he knows why police and hospital dramas are so popular with the viewing public…

Talking about his detective drama DCI Banks, which returns for a fourth series this week, said that one of the reasons why people like it so much is because they never want to end up at the centre of a crime themselves.

The former Ballykissangel star said: “I think people have warmed to the fact that the show seems grittier, and like real life, in a way. It is very unglamorous, but they admire his dedication, and people do have a great sense of belief in a justice system.

DCI Banks Stephen Tompkinson

Stephen Tompkinson says people like the gritty nature of DCI Banks (ITV)

“And voyeuristically, I suppose why police and hospital dramas are so popular, is that they’re the two places that you never want to end up in.”

Stephen also praised the rural setting of the series in which he plays the title role.

“You can have crime scenes in urban and very cosmopolitan cities like Leeds, but within 40 minutes, you’re in the Yorkshire moors and the wilds of Banks’ lonely cottage, where he has his thinking time,"  said Stephen.

“We’ve a great action sequence in the second story on Conisbrough Viaduct with about six vehicles and two police helicopters, which was all very dramatic. And then on top of Ilkley Moor for the last one in 70mph winds. It’s all glamour!”

DCI Banks

Stephen Tompkinson and Andrea Lowe star in DCI Banks (ITV)

He added that he still liked to try and improve his performance with each job: “The lust to do it is still there. I still watch things back and kick myself for making some mistakes; some things I’m improving on.

“I always feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface and there’s so much more to try.”

DCI Banks returns to ITV on Wednesday, 4 March.