Daniel Mays describes his experience in the guest role of Danny Waldron in Series 3 of ‘Line of Duty’ as “bittersweet” because of the way his character was killed off after only one episode, and yet left a massive mark on audiences.
“It had bags of potential,” Daniel tells Radio Times. “You could have taken him in any direction, but I can’t grumble about the impact it achieved. The audience were repulsed by him at the beginning, to be such a cold-hearted executioner, yet all of a sudden, this thing opens up and you see that he suffered from abuse and he had this unbearable trauma that he carried around with him from his childhood.”
During his one hour of screen time, Danny Waldron participated in arguably ‘Line of Duty’s finest ever interrogation scene with AC-12, something he knew was pretty special even while he was performing it.
He remembers: “It was a monumental day, a marathon day. We felt completely in the bubble, me and Adrian Dunbar [Superintendent Ted Hastings], Craig Parkinson [DI Matthew “Dot” Cottan] and Martin Compston [DS Steve Arnott]. Without question, it was the largest thing I’ve had to tackle and it felt incredibly concentrated. I had a huge mountain to climb that day. We went out to a five-star hotel in Belfast afterwards. I ordered a very expensive bottle of red wine and we had a jolly good drink.”
Despite his massive screen success – this week appearing on rival networks Channel 4 in ‘Born to Kill’ and Sky Atlantic’s ‘Guerrilla’ – Daniel doesn’t think his London vowels make him very fashionable, in comparison with actors from more privileged backgrounds.
“Those actors seem much more in vogue,” he says. “That’s the way of the world at the moment. I saw my very good friend Stephen Graham in a repeat of ‘This Is England’ the other night and was just completely hit for six by his performance. He is consistently brilliant but doesn’t necessarily get the plaudits he deserves.”
Along with some of those other names, Daniel went to RADA but resisted any efforts to brush up his London tones. “Back in the day they would endeavour to posh you up, make you speak RP so when you went out into the industry, you’d get more work that way. I know actors today that have done that, but that sort of thing never sat well with me. I’m Danny and I talk like I’ve always spoken and I wouldn’t want to change it. Everyone knows me as London Danny – ‘He’s a bit like this and a bit like that.’”
Daniel appears in Channel 4’s ‘Born to Kill’ at 9pm on Thursday, and at the same time on Sky Atlantic in ‘Guerrilla’. Read the full interview in next week’s Radio Times, on sale now.