10/04/2017 11:02 BST | Updated 10/04/2017 11:29 BST

'Line Of Duty' Star Adrian Dunbar Reveals Surprise Inspiration For His Character Chief Superintedent Hastings

It makes sense.

‘Line of Duty’ character Chief Superintendent Hastings has proved a rock of integrity, support and quiet authority throughout four series of the crime drama, focusing on the anti-corruption unit AC-12, whereby the police investigate their own. 

Now, actor Adrian Dunbar has revealed the real-life inspiration behind his portrayal of the popular character. 

“(He’s) inspired by Alex Ferguson and Bill Shankly,” Adrian told the audience at a Q&A session during the weekend’s BFI & Radio Times TV Festival. 

Adrian Dunbar plays Chief Superintendent Ted Hastings in 'Line of Duty'

Both men, celebrated for their management skills at Manchester United and Liverpool football clubs respectively, famously inspired devout loyalty in the teams they led, and similarly viewers have seen AC-12’s coppers DS Steve Arnott and DS Kate Fleming bow to Hastings’ guidance in all matters, even when they’re vying with each other for his respect. 

At the same panel, writer Jed Mercurio explained why his plot for each series moves at such a breathless pace. 

Like the football managers he mentions, Ted Hastings inspires loyalty in his AC-12 team

“You have to have forward momentum with the series, like being in a car taking a sharp turn,” he said, of his monster hit, which has moved to BBC One for series four, after gaining a huge fan-following in its original home on BBC Two. 

This year’s antagonist - each series played by a new guest star - is DCI Roz Huntley, being investigated by AC-12, played by an impenetrable Thandie Newton. Having spent the last 12 months on sci-fi drama ‘Westworld’, Thandie explained she was primed for the part:

“I had just played a robot for a year, which helped!”

‘Line of Duty’ series four has reached its halfway point, with viewers left shocked after the third episode by the apparent demise of a central figure at the hands of the elusive assailant, ‘Balaclava Man’. Would Jed Mercurio really have got rid of one of his most popular characters? Watch this space.  

Photo gallery Line of Duty Series 4 See Gallery