A fair cop

A shot of Dermot as DSU Schenk

By David Hennessy

“I’ve had so many of my friends collaring me and saying: ‘I’ll never sleep safely in my bed again’,” says the Cork actor Dermot Crowley. Known for playing DSU Schenk in Luther, Dermot is recalling the chilling opening of the recent series where a sexual predator silently emerges from underneath the bed his victim is sleeping soundly in.

Last week saw the latest and third series of Luther conclude with a tense and thrilling stand-off involving Idris Elba’s renegade cop and a vigilante taking the law into his own hands after losing faith in the justice system. With jail sentences for criminals including sexual offenders always being debated, the popular BBC cop show reflected on a serious issue here: “The interesting thing about (creator) Neil Cross is he takes current issues that affect people. At the end of the day, Luther is a bit like grand opera in that it takes normal life and heightens it but at the same time, the issues are real.

“There was a scene were the young woman who had been raped as a little girl by the paedophile, Schenke has to take her to a press conference begging for his (the paedophile’s) life and then she suddenly says: ‘No, hang him’. It was actually electrifying filming that. It felt like a real press conference because the place was packed with photographers and it all going off. It was almost a surprise to me what she said: Quite shocking. Because it’s so visceral, you get into the moment and that’s what makes it such a great thrill to do.”

Luther has sold around the world which should come as no surprise with a star as big as Idris headlining it. Currently starring in Pacific Rim, Idris Elba can also be seen playing Nelson Mandela in The Long Walk to Freedom later this year and being in such demand, it is hard to say if or when Luther will return: “Never say never. I know both Idris and Neil Cross are very interested in bringing it to the big screen. That was always the plan once it had become successful. I would prefer if it were to carry on on television, I would really like that but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Dermot with his Luther co-stars Warren Brown and Idris Elba

However, we will certainly see Dermot teaming up again with his Irish Luther co-star Michael Smiley in Father Figure. Jason Byrne’s BBC sitcom also stars Pauline McLynn and is expected to air in the autumn: “It’s a funny sitcom and it’s about him (Byrne) and his fabulously off the wall mad life. Pauline McLynn plays his mum and I play his dad. Jason plays a stay at home dad who is useless around the house. We invade the house at every opportunity. Pauline’s forever tidying up, I’m always eating biccies in front of the telly and that kind of thing. It’s an old fashioned sitcom about a family.

“We originally did it on radio 2 and then the BBC commissioned Jason to write a pilot. We just read the pilot for the BBC executives and they liked it so much, they commissioned a series straight off. I think it will be really good. We’ve the same executive producer as Mrs Brown’s Boys who has made that a huge success so we’ll see what happens.”

For the full interview, please see the August 3 print edition of The Irish World.

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