Interview: Kelly MacDonald from Line of Duty Season 6
After having launched in South Africa in August 2021, BritBox brought the long-awaited sixth season of the critically acclaimed crime series about Anti-Corruption Unit 12 in the British police service to our screens.
The group of men and women working for AC-12 have to investigate some of the most clever, conniving suspects we’ve ever seen on TV – the only thing worse than a common criminal is a “bent copper”.
While the AC-12 agents are a constant from one season to the next, the suspects and victims tend to change. DCI Joanne Davidson, played by Kelly MacDonald, who you might recognise from The Victim or as Helena Ravenclaw (aka The Grey Lady) in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, appears for the first time in Season 6.
Here, she tells us about her role, filming during the pandemic, and some of her more challenging scenes.
Can you tell us about DCI Joanne Davidson?
At the start of the series, she’s quite a lonely figure. She’s struggling and we don’t quite know why that is.
Where do we meet her at the start?
She’s doing very well in her career. She’s the head of an important case and it’s very high profile.
What kind of officer is she – what are her strengths?
She’s got a very stressful position and deals with it well but is quite a closed-off person. There’s a lot going on under the surface with her. She gets to the point where she has to make tricky decisions.
Were you a fan of Line of Duty before?
I hadn’t watched it until this part came up! But I’ve not watched lots of things – Game of Thrones, The Sopranos! However, I was very aware of Line of Duty as everyone in the UK is.
I was sent the first couple of scripts and the part was phenomenal. It’s so daunting going into a show with such a huge profile. I started watching it and got completely hooked. Then when we were near the beginning of filming, I was halfway through Thandie Newton’s series [Season 4] and the nerves started to creep in so that’s when I stopped! I still have some to catch up.
What was it like to film during the Covid pandemic?
Last year was a tricky one for the whole world! We started filming this show in February and we got a few weeks in when lockdown happened. We had this massive gap before we got to come back.
It’s been unlike anything I’ve ever been involved in. It’s such a massive job and an amazing part but with a whole worldwide pandemic on top of things, we’ve had to come back in a slightly different way. I’ve been so welcomed by the production and the rest of the cast that I’ve had a lovely time! Well, as lovely as I could during this pandemic.
How were the interview room scenes?
Ooh! They were the thing that filled me with the most dread but actually I really enjoyed them. One of the interview scenes is bigger than anything I’ve ever done before – I think over half an hour. We filmed it over two days and on the first day, the cameras were only on my character.
I was told there were 50 cameras set up on me just in that one day, which is mind blowing. It was like doing a play and it was a real treat to have that kind of material in one scene!
Seasons 1 to 5 of Line of Duty are on both Britbox and Netflix, with Season 6 only on BritBox in South Africa.