Kelly Macdonald still hasn’t finished watching Line of Duty – and she had to stop when she got to Thandie Newton’s scenes.
The 45-year-old actress – whose illustrious career has included memorable roles in the likes of No Country for Old Men, Trainspotting, Boardwalk Empire and State of Play – has admitted she never saw the hit BBC police drama before agreeing to take on on the role of DCI Joanne Davidson.
She told Radio Times: ‘I’ve not watched lots of things! I saw bits of it on Gogglebox and of course I was aware of its success…
‘I got halfway through season four and stopped because it was getting too close to the start of the shoot.
‘I was getting proper nerves and watching Thandie Newton wasn’t making it easier!’
Thandie was nominated for a BAFTA for best actress for her 2017 role as DCI Roseanne ‘Roz’ Huntley.
Meanwhile, Kelly even thought about turning down the part, but she was swayed and signed up to play Davidson, whose unconventional behaviour as Senior Investigating Officer on an unsolved murder case grabs the attention of the AC-12 team.
The script was intimidating for Kelly, but Keeley Hawes – who wowed viewers as Lindsay Denton in the second and third seasons – gave her some reassurance.
She added: ‘Talk about a big act to follow. It’s a horrible thing to ask of someone! But the real issue was the sheer number of words I had to learn.
‘When I saw the script, my first instinct was to run a mile. It’s all addresses and dates and police jargon, especially when I was interviewing suspects.
‘Keeley was brilliant; she talked me down from the ledge. She said it might look as though you are being asked to do something completely impossible, but it’s not.’
And then another chat – this time with Line of Duty’s Martin Compston – gave her another nudge towards the role.
Recalling her conversation with the Steve Arnott actor, she said: ‘He was so excited. He said, “Hey! You’ve got to do it!” It got to the point where I didn’t feel I could run away from it.
‘I thought it might actually be a good challenge and it really was. Although I still can’t believe I got through some of it.’
Line of Duty returns to BBC One at 9pm on March 21.