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The Responder, written by former Merseyside policeman Tony Schumacher and starring Martin Freeman, was the second biggest new drama of 2022 when it launched at the end of January, with almost 10 million viewers.
While Time, co-starring Sean Bean and Stephen Graham and written by Jimmy McGovern, was one of the biggest hits of 2021, reaching nearly 12 million viewers after being first aired June.
Head of Liverpool Film Office, Lynn Saunders, says: “We love it when the city stands in for London, New York or Gotham, but when the story’s set in Liverpool, created by Liverpool writers, and brought to life by Scouse talent – it’s simply special.
“We’re incredibly proud to have supported both Time and The Responder’s first runs with our LCR Production Fund; they’ve not only entertained more than 22 million people through the BBC, but the productions created jobs for so many local crew and vital income for local businesses.”
And she adds: “Both shows were filmed during lockdown, so these recommissions really are a testament to how Liverpool houses successful drama.”
The Responder drew in viewers with its challenging and tragic storylines which showed the emotional extremes of life on the front line of British policing.
It followed Chris Carson, a crisis-stricken, morally compromised, and unconventional urgent response officer tackling a series of night shifts on the beat in Liverpool.
Filmed largely around the city centre – and in Blundellsands where Mersey motoring writer Mike Torpey’s house doubled for Chris’s home – Chris struggled to keep his head above water, both personally and professionally. Forced to take on a new rookie partner, Rachel, they both discovered their survival depended on them either helping each other – or destroying each other.
Time concentrated on the relationship of an inmate and his prison officer. Newly imprisoned and consumed by guilt for his crime, Mark Cobden (Bean) was out of his depth in the volatile world of prison life until he found support from Eric McNally (Graham), an excellent prison officer doing his best to protect those in his charge.
But when one of the most dangerous inmates identified his weakness, Eric faced an impossible choice between his principles and his family.
The second series will welcome a new cast and be set in an all-female prison.
The Tourist, in which Jamie Dornan played the lead role, and nuclear submarine thriller, Vigil, which starred Suranne Jones and Martin Compston, will also return.
Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer says: “The BBC is on fire creatively and the return of four of our biggest dramas over the last year demonstrates the sheer scale and range of storytelling on the BBC.”
Series one of all four dramas are available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.
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