Filming on series two of the hugely successful, multi award-winning and six-time BAFTA-nominated BBC drama The Responder has begun in Liverpool.
The hugely successful first series was a distinctive new take on crime drama from Fremantle-backed Dancing Ledge (The Salisbury Poisonings, Crossfire) for BBC One and iPlayer. Written by ex-police officer Tony Schumacher, The Responder held a mirror up to the emotional extremes of life on the front line of British policing – sometimes darkly funny, sometimes painfully tragic, always challenging. Series one was released on the BBC in January 2022 and attracted 9.6m viewers (episode one 28-day figure), making it one of the year’s biggest new dramas. Sold widely, with Fremantle handling global distribution, it fast became one of Europe’s biggest dramas.
The second series is penned by Schumacher and will see actors Martin Freeman, Adelayo Adedayo (Unsaid Stories; Timewasters), MyAnna Buring (The Salisbury Poisonings; The Witcher), Warren Brown (Ten Pound Poms; Luther), Josh Finan (Baby Reindeer; The Gentlemen), Emily Fairn (Mary & George; Black Mirror – Demon 79), Philip S McGuinness (The Batman; The Alienist) and Faye McKeever (Little Boy Blue; Moorside), Mark Womack (The Vanishing Man; Playing the Field) and Amaka Okafo (Bodies; Greatest Days) reprise their roles. Joining them will be exciting new additions to the cast, Adam Nagaitis (The Terror; Chernobyl), Bernard Hill (Wolf Hall; Lord of the Rings (Theoden), Titanic) and Ian Puleston-Davies (Tin Star; Pennyworth).
Series two joins Chris Carson six months later. Chris is attempting to rebuild his life, and his relationships, desperate to avoid the corruption that nearly sucked him under. He is trying to be a better police officer, a better man, and most importantly, a better father to his daughter Tilly. All whilst still dealing with the relentless trauma of being a night response officer. Chris wants a day job. Chris needs a day job. But is he prepared to risk everything to get one? Rachel Hargreaves is putting her life back together too. She’s still fuming at the way Chris broke her dreams of being a police officer and dragged her down with him into the dirt, and now she’s desperately trying to take control of a life and a career that sometimes feels like it’s slipping away. But after working with a succession of ‘normal’ coppers, Rachel is starting to realise she’s got more in common with Chris than she’d ever want to admit. As they are sucked back together, and into the night, they must pull each other back into the light. But then a routine stop on a black Range Rover changes everything, and suddenly, the darkness beckons once again.
Writer Tony Schumacher says: “Throwing myself back into the world of The Responder has been such a ride over this last year or so. Gathering the characters old and new around me has been a delight, and finally getting to see these people brought to life by so many incredible people fills me with genuine excitement. I just can’t wait for you to see them too!”
Toby Bruce, Executive Producer for Dancing Ledge Productions, says: “It’s such an incredible joy, and privilege, to be back working with Tony’s magic scripts, continuing the stories of characters we’ve all fallen in love with. Martin Freeman as Chris, and Adelayo as Rachel, both have the ability to be emotional lightning rods and we couldn’t be more excited to bring them, and the rest of our amazing cast, back together.”
Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, says: “Series one of The Responder gave us a bold and thrilling new take on the police drama, winning five-star reviews and millions of fans on BBC One and iPlayer in the process. It’s a joy to once again partner with Tony, Martin, Adelayo and such a fantastic team to see what’s next for Chris and Rachel.”
The Responder (5×60’) is written by Tony Schumacher and produced by Dancing Ledge Productions, who were recently named Production Company of the Year at the Edinburgh Television Awards 2023, for BBC One and iPlayer. It is directed by Jeanette Nordahl, Mounia Akl, and Charlotte Regan. It is produced by Barrington Robinson with Laurence Bowen, Chris Carey and Toby Bruce serving as executive producers for Dancing Ledge Productions. Rebecca Ferguson is the executive producer for the BBC.
Filming will take place in and around Liverpool City Region with support from the Liverpool Film Office. Fremantle will handle global distribution for the series.
Series one of The Responder is available to stream on BBC iPlayer now.