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Martin Freeman to star in new BBC2 crime drama The Responder

The Responder
(Image credit: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

The new drama is penned by an ex cop...

Sherlock actor Martin Freeman is to star in The Responder - a new drama penned by ex police officer Tony Schumacher.

The six-part story is drawn from Tony’s real-life experiences as an urgent response officer and closely examines the emotional, often heartbreaking extremes of modern day policing.

According to the BBC, The Responder will focus on both victims and perpetrators. They add that it’s as much about life on the streets of Liverpool as it is about the police.

Martin Freeman stars as lead character Chris, who is trying to save his marriage and keep his head above water as a police officer when we first meet him.

His character has been described as a “crisis-stricken, morally compromised, unconventional cop”, who is forced to take on a new rookie partner called Rachel.

The two are soon tasked with making this partnership work, and realise that surviving in the high-pressure, relentless night time world will rely on them helping each other - or it could destroy them.

The Responder features self-contained police stories full of complex and vulnerable characters, who will interact with Chris and Rachel in different ways.

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Series writer Tony Schumacher says, “If you had told me six years ago that I would be working with the BBC, a company of the calibre of Dancing Ledge, and an actor with the talent of Martin Freeman, I would have thrown you out of my taxi for being drunk.

“And yet here I am, surrounded and supported by all these great people, and able to launch this story on one of the greatest TV channels in the world. It turns out that dreams can come true after all.”

Lead actor Martin adds, “Tony Schumacher's script for The Responder resonated with me immediately. It felt like nothing that I'd read or seen.

“Great to work with Laurence and Chris at Dancing Ledge again and finding a home at the BBC has been a wonderful start to the journey."

The Responder is produced by Dancing Ledge Productions for BBC2,  with company CEO Laurence Bowen saying, "Tony is one of the most talented new writers we've ever worked with. His ability to distill trauma, empathy, poetry and humour into every character he creates is extraordinary.

"And then the fact he's worked as a policeman for fifteen years so can harness all that personal experience too brings a real truth and depth to his voice. Writers like him are the reason drama producers want to produce.”

Filming will take place in and around Liverpool. Further details will be announced in due course.