Ian Kelsey (Blue Murder) Interview

Caroline Quentin returns as DCI Janine Lewis in six new episodes of ITV1's police drama Blue Murder.

Read our interview with Caroline Quentin.

DI Richard Mayne (Ian Kelsey) finds himself supporting Janine both at home and at work as she struggles to cope after the departure of ex-husband Pete who has built a life for him and his new family in Spain. As this story develops, Janine finds herself making some tough decisions about her future career.

Take a look at our Series 5 episode guide.

How has the new series developed since the last?

I think the writers have really gone for it this year, as they’ve concentrated on the relationships between each character. You get to know more about who the characters are away from the badge and the team has changed slightly because there is a new colleague, Kat.

In the second episode, Inside, Richard goes undercover in a prison to investigate the murder of an inmate. Why does Richard put himself in danger?

Richard knows he is the only member of the team who can pursue this investigation. He doesn’t feel he’s letting anybody down by keeping his undercover operation from Janine and the team because he knows they’d have done the same in his shoes. He’s got to do this because it’s part of the job. He knows the only way to bring the murdered man’s killer to justice is to go undercover.

Did you have to do any specific research to this?

I took advice from a range of people, but the main thing I was told was that in prison you have to make your mark and carve out territory straight away. If you are perceived as weak fellow prisoners will pick on you. I was also told that if inmates discovered you were a police officer you’d be dead in minutes because it would be a real badge to wear for a prisoner. He’d be a hero. That’s why it’s so important, as few people as possible know Richard is going undercover.

At times throughout the series we see Janine struggling with her high profile job and her family life. How does Richard support her?

Richard is the missing link in Janine’s family. He understands the kids need a father figure, so he likes to step in and take the reins sometimes. Richard gets on well with the kids and he’s comfortable in his relationship with Janine. He knows when she needs a cuddle or when to lighten the moment with a joke, or when she wants him to clear off for a bit. I think they have quite a rounded relationship in this series.

Richard and Janine have a great friendship. Why has this not developed further?

Janine and Richard know that it can’t go any further, both professionally and personally. There’s no commitment at the moment and they’re both happy for their relationship to be that way.

Do you continue to research your role?

The writers spend a long time creating the stories and conducting in-depth research. They work with Manchester Police really closely, because they allow us to use their badge for the drama. They wouldn’t want Blue Murder to portray the police in a bad light, so the writers are really thorough with detail. By the time we receive scripts you can be sure it’s accurate.

You’ve work with an array of great guest stars including Mark Benton and Tina O’Brien. Do you have anecdotes from your time on set?

There’s a scene in episode two when Mark (Benton) and I are supposed to be sat in the background pretending to talk to each other, but we just got the giggles. Once we started we couldn’t stop!

In the last two episodes, Private Sins, why does Richard decide not to tell Janine that Shap has jeopardised the murder case by helping a potential suspect?

Richard’s in charge at the time, so when Shap messes up, Richard knows he’d have to take responsibility. In a way he’s covering his own back by not revealing what Shap has done. It’s strange for Richard because he normally has a friendly relationship with Shap, but he has to really come down hard on him to ensure he’s back in line.

You’re currently in theatre with Chicago. What do you prefer, TV or theatre?

Lifestyle wise, the theatre is fantastic because you can have a great work life balance. I’ve got a three year old now, so when I’m doing theatre I can stay at home with her all day, and still work in the evening. With TV, you can be doing 15 hour days so it’s harder to structure your life because you never know exactly when you’re going to be working. I’ve worked in television most of my life and I do really enjoy the variety. Its long hours but we have time in-between scenes to have a laugh and it’s something fresh everyday. The hard thing with theatre is making the same role appear fresh every night.

What are your plans following this series of Blue Murder?

I’m currently playing Billy Flynn in Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden until mid-March, 2009.