James Nesbitt joins Line of Duty

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 19 April 2021
James Nesbitt

James Nesbitt

James Nesbitt has joined 'Line of Duty' as dodgy policeman Marcus Thurwell, but the star had to keep it a secret from his friends and family for more than a year and even recently fibbed he was "slightly galled" to have been snubbed from the show

James Nesbitt has joined 'Line of Duty' after previously fibbing he felt "galled" to have been snubbed from the show.

The 56-year-old star was asked to appear as dodgy retired policeman Marcus Thurwell in the police procedural programme by show creator Jed Mercurio, who produced his recent drama 'Bloodlands'.

Both shows were shot in Belfast, so Jed was able to tell any onlookers that James was shooting scenes for 'Bloodlands', which aired earlier this year, if they questioned the filming.

He told The Sun newspaper: "It was easier to keep it secret by plotting the scheme between the two of us rather than involving a proper casting process.

"I did warn him there were two conditions: One, he’d have to wear shorts which might get very nippy on a cold day in Belfast and, two, he’d have to lie about it.

"The shoot at Belfast Marina went really smoothly, because the sun came out for about five minutes.

"I think people thought Jimmy was shooting an advert. I told passers-by he was modelling for a catalogue.

"The rest of the filming with Jimmy was done away from the public eye so we were able to keep his involvement totally top secret."

'Cold Feet' star James admitted he "immediately said yes" when Jed asked him if he would join 'Line of Duty', and he had to keep his role a secret for more than a year from his "closest friends or family".

Bent copper Thurwell was previously mentioned in series three, and it was said he'd retired to Spain.

In last night's (18.04.21) dramatic episode, there were pictures of Thurwell dressed in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt in what appeared to be Spain – but such scenes were shot at Belfast Marina in Northern Ireland.

Jed added: "On a sunny day it can look passably Mediterranean, with all the expensive boats moored on the piers.

"Then our thoughts turned to who we could cast. As I was already filming with Jimmy Nesbitt, one day I cheekily asked him if he fancied playing the role."

While promoting 'Bloodlands', James previously fibbed that he had been "slightly galled" because he hadn't ever been considered for 'Line of Duty'.  

He said: "Even though 'Line Of Duty' had been shot here for years I was never considered for it, which has always slightly galled me."

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