The Responder: When is the BBC police drama starring Martin Freeman on TV and what is it about?

Martin Freeman is the star of new BBC police show The Responder, which offers a ‘distinctive’ new take on crime drama.

Monday, 24th January 2022, 4:08 pm

The programme takes a closer look at life on the frontline of British policing and its ‘emotional extremes’.

As well as a stellar cast, it is written by an ex-police officer and comes from the makers of another popular BBC drama, The Salisbury Poisonings.

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Martin Freeman stars in new BBC policing drama The Responder. Photo by BBC.

The drama looks set to be brutally honest and totally gripping – but what is the plot, who does it star and when will it start?

Here is everything you need to know.

What is The Responder about?

Written by ex-police officer Tony Schumacher, his first original series for television, BBC says The Responder holds a mirror up to the ‘emotional extremes’ of life on the frontline of British policing - sometimes darkly funny, sometimes painfully tragic and always challenging.

Adelayo Adedayo plays Rachel alongside Martin Freeman in new BBC crime drama The Responder. Photo by BBC.

The Responder follows Chris Carson (Martin Freeman), a crisis-stricken, morally compromised, unconventional urgent response officer tackling a series of night shifts on the beat in Liverpool.

Whilst trying to keep his head above water both personally and professionally, Chris is forced to take on a new rookie partner Rachel (Adelayo Adedayo).

Both soon discover that survival in this high pressure, relentless, night-time world will depend on them either helping or destroying each other.

Martin Freeman said: “Tony Schumacher’s scripts were so unique and honest that I knew very quickly that I wanted to be a part of The Responder and take on the role of Chris. No-one writes like Tony and it has been exhilarating inhabiting the world he has created.”

What is the cast for The Responder?

As well as BAFTA-winning actor Martin Freeman, who has starred in Sherlock, The Hobbit and The Office, the series stars a whole host of other big names.

Some of these include: Adelayo Adedayo (Unsaid Stories; Timewasters; The Capture) who stars alongside Martin Freeman, Ian Hart (Tin Star; The Last Kingdom; The Terror), MyAnna Buring (The Salisbury Poisonings; The Witcher; Ripper Street), Kerrie Hayes (Tin Star; The English Game; The Mill) and Warren Brown (Luther; Liar; Strike Back).

David Bradley (Afterlife; Brittania; Broadchurch) and Rita Tushingham (Ridley Road; The Pale Horse; In The Flesh) will also take on roles alongside newcomers Josh Finan and Emily Fairn.

Adelayo Adedayo, who plays Rachel, said: “I hope audiences will be thoroughly entertained, completely gripped. I think the rapid shifts between comedy and terror will be interesting to watch, and I think seeing these characters in authentic situations struggling, dealing and getting through - sometimes winning, sometimes losing - is very attractive to watch.”

Who created The Responder?

The Responder is written by Tony Schumacher, his first original series for television, and produced by Fremantle-backed Dancing Ledge Productions for BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Schumacher is an ex-police officer, offering a unique insight into the TV genre and life on the frontline.

Its director, Tim Mielants, has worked on shows like Peaky Blinders while producer Rebecca Ferguson has worked on household favourites like Cold Feet.

Tony Schumacher said: "My fantasy casting when I was writing the character of Chris in the Responder was Martin Freeman. Seeing that fantasy become reality is beyond exciting. Martin is one of the great British actors.

"He brings such a well of talent and humanity that breathes magic into the words I've been lucky enough to give him. I can’t wait for audiences to get to see his performance in this role, it’s one I feel very lucky to have had a front row seat for.”

When is The Responder on TV and how can I watch?

There will be five one-hour-long episodes of The Responder, which will be shown on BBC One.

It will begin at 9pm on BBC One on Monday, January 24.

The second episode will air on Tuesday, January 25 before the third is shown on Monday, January 31.

It will also be available to watch on demand on BBC iPlayer.