UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 16 APRIL 2021
TV star and BCU alumnus Nigel Boyle, who plays Detective Inspector Ian Buckells in Line of Duty, has revealed his experience of working on the primetime BBC TV police drama during the pandemic, his civic pride in Birmingham, and his ambitions to work with a well-known comedy great.
Nigel also shared advice for budding screen and stage professionals looking to pursue their careers once theatres and productions fully reopen across the UK.
Having graduated from Birmingham School of Acting in 2002 – now part of Birmingham City University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire – he hopes to see fellow alumni follow in his footsteps and make an impact in the industry.
The sixth series of Line of Duty, currently airing to UK audiences, saw its highest audience to date in the series finale, clocking up a record 12.8 million viewers. For Nigel, it’s been a real pleasure to be part of the smash hit show written by Jed Mercurio.
“It’s amazing to be part of such a successful show! I’m constantly grateful and never take it for granted. I remember auditioning for the pilot back in 2010. The first series was shot in Birmingham and the auditions were held there so I travelled up from London in a suit.
“When I read the first episode I knew I had to nail it as it was the best audition script I’d ever read and I knew I was right for the part. I spent two full days preparing for it so I was super ready when I got to the audition. I got a call back the next week and was offered the part. The major high for me was the read-through - sitting around a table with such a huge cast of top-class actors!”
Throughout the latest series, Nigel had fans on the edge of their seats as Buckells, with storyline developments seeing the Detective Inspector interrogated for suspicious behaviour, facing suggestions that he has been framed and accusations of being a 'snitch'.
However, in the finale episode, it was revealed that Buckells was indeed the 'fourth man', otherwise known as 'H', who was liaising with the OCG (Organised Crime Group). He was revealed after the AC-12 team found evidence of his frequent misspelling of definitely to 'defiantly'.
Born in the South Birmingham suburb of Moseley, Nigel has played Brummie policeman Buckells since season one of the show, also appearing in acclaimed British TV dramas Peaky Blinders, Small Axe and Coronation Street, and feels that attitudes towards his home city are changing for the better.
“I’m extremely proud of my Brummie/Irish heritage, so when Line of Duty was shot first in Birmingham, and then Belfast, it was perfect for me.
“I think Line of Duty and Peaky Blinders put Birmingham back on the map. Although I was lucky to appear in one episode in series four of Peaky Blinders, I would have loved a bigger role, even if it was that of an accent coach!”
Nigel has plenty of advice to share with younger actors and will be talking about his experience in a video masterclass with hundreds of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Acting students next week. After an incredibly testing year, which saw an abrupt stop to all live performances and much industry work as Covid-19 spread, Nigel is optimistic about the future.
“Keep working, keep reading, and keep learning! When you graduate it’s isn’t the finish point, it’s where the hard work starts. You have to keep improving and trying to be better than you were before.
Nigel recently became a father for the third time and has been balancing work commitments with parenting. Post-Line of Duty, he is looking forward to new challenges, including one aspiration to work with a very well-known comedy superstar on his hit Netflix show.
“I have got to the point where I can afford a lot more consideration when being offered parts. There are things being talked about at the moment, and what’s really nice is that for the last few years I’ve been offered stuff without having to read/audition for.
“What I’d really like to do is work on Afterlife with Ricky Gervais (one of my heroes!).”
“But I seem to have found a niche playing coppers/detectives - and if that’s what the next 20 years has in store for me, and as long as it pays the mortgage and child care, then I’m cool with that!“