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Why Yosser Hughes actor Bernard Hill loved returning to the city to film The Responder series 2

4 weeks ago

Why Yosser Hughes actor Bernard Hill loved returning to the city to film The Responder series 2
Bernard Hill - The Responder Series 2. Image credit: BBC

Actor Bernard Hill got a surprise when he arrived in Liverpool to film the latest series of The Responder – and found Boys From The Black Stuff on stage in the city.

Bernard Hill, famed for his iconic portrayal of Yosser ‘Gizza Job’ Hughes in the cult 80s series, will star in The Responder series 2, due to air on BBC One May 5.

Bernard, 79, says: “I went down to the Royal Court Theatre during filming, and I didn’t know what was on, so I just went in.

“The manager came to where I was sitting and said ‘what are you doing here?’. 

After explaining he was in Liverpool for the second series of the BBC1 police drama, Bernard was asked if wanted to see the show: “And when I looked it was Boys From The Black Stuff.  I couldn’t believe it!

“It’s 40 years from when I did Boys From The Black Stuff – and there I was back in Liverpool watching it on the stage.”

Bernard Hill as Chris's dad Tom in The Responder series 2. Credit: BBC
Bernard Hill as Chris’s dad Tom in The Responder series 2. Credit: BBC

Bernard plays Tom, the father of Chris Carson (Martin Freeman), in The Responder which returns to our TV screens this Sunday.

And he was only too happy to make his own return to Merseyside.

“Liverpool is one of my favourite places, I’ve got a great relationship with the city,” says Manchester-born Bernard. “I lived there for a long time and my daughter was born there, so it’s like my second home.”

And from the moment he returned, so too did the Liverpool accent: “Once I got it out, opened the door on it, it was just there.  It will never go, it will always be lingering around somewhere.

“Before I even went to Liverpool, people used to ask me ‘why are you speaking like a Scouser?’ and the honest answer is, I don’t know. It wasn’t intentional and I don’t know why, but something inside me was determined to break into Scouse.

“And it was very easy for me to do it.”

The new Responder series joins Chris Carson six months on from series one. Chris is trying to rebuild his life and relationships and avoid the corruption that nearly dragged him under.

He’s trying to be a better police officer, a better man, and – most importantly – a better father to his daughter Tilly … all while dealing with the daily trauma of being a night response officer.

Martin Freeman is back as Chris Carson in The Responder series 2. Credit: BBC
Martin Freeman is back as Chris Carson in The Responder series 2. Credit: BBC

Bernard’s says his role as his dad came ‘in a bit of a rush’: “I found myself with the script pages for the character they were talking about me playing, just Tom’s scenes, and I thought it could be really interesting to play and wondered what the rest of the script was like. So I said yes. Turns out it was really good.

“Tony – creator, writer, and executive producer Tony Schumacher – is a very talented writer, he’s a real Scouse writer and writes with real honesty, which is great.

“We didn’t have much of Tom’s back story established in series one, so I just let it roll. Martin seemed to be doing the same in quite a smooth way. I picked up what parts of the character I needed from him, and the character of Tom revealed itself. 

“That’s Tony Schumacher there. He takes us with him and these characters. We just act where he takes it, and I was glad because it’s strong stuff.”

It also gave Bernard the chance to catch up with Martin Freeman: “I had got to know Martin when I was in New Zealand and he was doing The Hobbit, so that was good and made it easy because we got on very well.

“I think we made a very good father and son, and it was good to find the little bits of these characters that were kept hidden.”

The Responder Series 2 airs on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Sunday, May 5 at 9pm.

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