Blood star Adrian Dunbar previews even more thrilling series 2

Adrian Dunbar as Jim Hogan in Blood S2. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Acorn TV.
Adrian Dunbar as Jim Hogan in Blood S2. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Acorn TV. /

Adrian Dunbar tells Precinct TV about returning to play Jim Hogan in Blood series 2, and how his role in Line of Duty helped him in the Irish crime drama.

The Irish crime drama Blood has returned for its second series on Acorn TV, and that means more of Adrian Dunbar’s riveting performance as Jim Hogan.

Adrian spoke to Precinct TV ahead of the season premiere to talk about what it took to step back into Jim’s headspace for another go-around, and how working on Line of Duty actually helped with this role.

Check out our Adrian Dunbar interview below, then make sure you stream Blood series 2 this week. The first two episodes are available now, with new episodes following every Monday.

Precinct TV: What was it about Blood or the character of Jim Hogan that you originally were intrigued by?

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Adrian Dunbar: I thought the writing was excellent. I thought it had a real chance because it was so different. There’s so many things that we watch on TV that are either dark and [at] night, or rainy and wet, and here was a piece that was set in the Midlands, in the countryside. It was shot during the day. It was an ordinary middle-class family, and yet extraordinary things were happening amongst them.

I thought this really has a chance, if everybody that comes around the project really gets it. I was lucky that the people who came around the project were wonderful.

PTV: The events of Blood series 1 pretty much wrecked Jim’s life. How do you, as an actor, then pick the character up and start again?

AD: You have to remember what did happen to the character and you use that as you start off the next series. And you trust [the writers]. What’s interesting about the second series is there’s been a time jump where everybody’s gone away, and you get a feeling that people have worked through their grief a bit and they’re trying to start afresh.

Except Jim comes back and he thinks he’s starting afresh on things, but things are not the same with the family, and there are other things going on that he doesn’t know about. As a father, he decides to get involved, and he maybe doesn’t get involved in the right way.

As an actor, you look at the next series and say, what is there to play here? What has Sophie [Petzal, creator and writer of Blood] done? I think she’s moved things along in a really interesting way. We’re focusing on Fiona, the second daughter [in series 2]; it’s almost like Sophie is deciding to focus on a different member of the family as the series goes on. You just get yourself back into the role knowing that a year or so has passed.

Blood — Courtesy of Acorn TV
Blood — Courtesy of Acorn TV /

PTV: In the first series, Jim was kind of a polarizing character; sometimes we rooted for him and other times he could be questionable. Would you say that’s still the case in Blood series 2?

AD: Jim is one of those guys whose character is developing. He’s someone whose life was in an ordinary place, and an extraordinary thing happens in his life that throws him somewhere else, and now his character is developing. The only thing is, you were seeing him from one person’s perspective in Series 1 until the final episode, when you saw what really happened. This time, we’ve dropped that; it’s a very linear story. We’re back to normal TV shooting, if you like, and it’s a lot of character development for him.

I think he’s changing as a person. It’s been a big life-changing event for him. So I think you’ll get him a lot clearer this time because you’re not seeing him from someone else’s perspective; you’re just seeing him amongst everybody else. He has a lot of things to do, and he doesn’t always make the right decisions, but he’s trying to do the best he can as a father, I think.

PTV: You’ve been on the other side of a TV crime drama with Line of Duty, which is one of the best in the genre. Did you find your experience there helped you in playing Jim and reacting to everything in Blood?

AD: Absolutely. You sit there and you might be being interrogated, or you’re in an interview situation, and you [can] look at a person interviewing you and think, if I was doing this I’d be a lot tougher. It’s strange sometimes being on the other side. But it’s interesting as well. It’s a different set of emotions you’re using. So the variety between Jim in Blood and Ted in Line of Duty is just great.

Line of Duty
From left: Martin Compston, Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure from Line of Duty. Photo Credit: Des Willie/Courtesy of Acorn TV. /

PTV: Why do you think British TV crime dramas are so successful overall? The crime stories we’re getting out of Europe, particularly England, are consistently top-notch.

AD: We’re pretty good at procedural and crime drama in the UK. TV in itself has now stepped up in the last ten years. It’s become a different animal altogether. It used to be slow and plodding, but now it’s moving quicker. The actors who are drawn to TV are of higher quality sometimes. I don’t know what it is about the UK in particular, but I think they’ve got some good writers. You need good writers, who are interested in sociological background stories and social issues, as well.

I generally find that people are interested in UK TV drama because of the sense of reality, but also, we share the same language. We’re interested in each other’s cultures. We like to see the landscape, the territories, the places that people live in, how they live. I think we’re fascinated because we share this language, and [because of] how we use this language. Those things fascinate us. Irish culture, English culture, Scottish culture—there are so many threads of that running through the US. And of course, we’ve been fascinated in our part of the world by the US forever. I think that’ll keep going on.

dark. Next. Every new crime drama on Acorn TV this month

Blood series 2 is now streaming on Acorn TV. You can also stream the first season if you haven’t started this excellent series.