Filming back home in Northern Ireland is something ‘really special’, says Bloodlands and Suspect star James Nesbitt


James Nesbitt has described filming back home in Northern Ireland as “really special” and one of the most enjoyable experiences of his career.

he Coleraine actor, who recently finished shooting series two of BBC One crime thriller Bloodlands, in the Strangford area of Co Down, said he had loved working with crews who were predominantly from here.

And he praised the flourishing, multi-million pound film and television industry here, which he described as an “interesting offshoot of the terrible conflict”.

Nesbitt returns to our TV screens this Sunday, June 19 in a gripping new star-studded Channel 4 drama called Suspect. The 57-year-old plays veteran detective Danny Frater who turns up at a hospital mortuary for a routine ID check, only to discover the deceased girl is his estranged daughter.

Suspect kicks off with a double bill at 9pm and 9.30pm on Sunday and double episodes will air every night, concluding on Wednesday. Each episode is a two-hander featuring Nesbitt and another lead actor, and the starry cast includes Richard E Grant, Ben Miller, Joely Richardson, Sam Heughan and Niamh Algar.

Nesbitt shot Suspect prior to Bloodlands, another crime drama which sees him play a PSNI detective with a dark secret.

Speaking on This Morning yesterday about the Bloodlands shoot, Nesbitt admitted it “wasn’t exactly light relief” following on from Suspect, but that it had been a “tremendous experience” and he had great hopes for series two.

When asked by Philip Schofield if it was one the most enjoyable shooting experiences of his life, Nesbitt said: “It really was. Well, I was at home, for a start. I left Northern Ireland in 1985 but it’s still very much home.

“And it was just great because there are such great crews there. They’ve been filming there for such a long time.

“One of the interesting offshoots of the terrible conflict there is that there was a lot of drama made so there have always been good crews and technicians.

“With this particular job, we had a predominantly north of Ireland crew. I love working with people from everywhere, but as Northern Ireland continues to emerge from its past, everyone from both sides were working together on this job and it was really special.”

Nesbitt has played a detective in several dramas now including Murphy’s Law, Lucky Man and last year’s Netflix hit Stay Close.

He said he had no idea why he kept getting offered police roles and told presenters Schofield and Holly Willoughby that he had been the butt of a joke back home that every cop series, irrespective of location, should be called Nesbitt.

In his latest role his character is “more of a dad than a detective”, who refuses to believe that his daughter has taken her own life. Over the course of 24 hours and through a series of intense exchanges with those closest to her, Nesbitt’s character sets out to uncover the truth.

“Each episode is a two hander so it’s quite theatrical. There was a lot of learning, and it was quite brutal,” he said.

“The beauty of the job was that I was working with the most astonishing array of talent who brought so much to it and were incredibly supportive of me.

“They knew I had a fair amount to take on.”

The diehard Manchester United also revealed that he got a stick and poke tattoo of his team while on a stag weekend.

“I went to Alex Ferguson’s grandson’s stag because I’m a good friend of his son,” he said.

“So it was me, Jake’s father, and 25-year-old boys and I was the only person who got a stick and poke tattoo of MUFC.

“It’s faded now, it looks like MULC, like Manchester United Lacrosse Club. But yeah, I got it.”

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