We definitely have a fifth, not a sixth… but we haven’t started working on it yet. I need to think what the character is first.
Did you instantly think of Thandie Newton for the role of DCI Roz Huntley or were other people in the running?
It just evolved. I don’t normally think of a specific actor, I concentrate on the character and then when we get into pre-production that’s how names come up.
I always knew Thandie was top talent, she was a real laugh on set. It was the easiest casting process I’ve ever been through.
Did Thandie’s status as a Hollywood star have an impact?
We were flattered she wanted to do the role – most of her career she’s been doing Hollywood movies so it was a boost for the whole team.
How do you come up with the plots for Line of Duty?
I come up with the story ideas on my own. I like to sit at my desk… sometimes I get inspiration when I’m going about my normal day-to-day life.
Then when I’ve come up with some sort of story, I get the editorial team on board and we try to develop it.
I then write an outline of the first episode which takes about a week. Only when we are happy with the first episode do we start on the second.
Can we expect any surprises for the final episode?
(pauses, laughs) You will just have to watch!
How do real-life police officers react to the plot?
One of our intelligence advisers for the show said his team have been trying to crack who balaclava man is – it’s quite funny.
What would you like to explore in the next series?
I want to look at the personal lives of all the regulars in series five – they’ve taken a backseat in this series to Roz Huntley, so it would be good to explore that side of things a bit more.
The regulars are definitely up for doing more… that’s if they survive the final episode!
What’s more important, ratings or awards?
I always try and distinguish between facts and opinions. I am just pleased the show is being watched. Ratings are the most important thing.
What advice do you have for budding crime series writers?
Just write, write, write. Watch lots of shows and films in that genre. Read lots and think about story and characters.
Are you tempted to write over in the US?
I actually went over there for a while when my career was quiet over in the UK. I wrote pilots for shows over there for about five years. I like the differences between American and British television dramas.
The final of Line of Duty is on BBC One on Sunday night at 9pm.
Madonna got justifiably – and unjustifiably – angry over claims made in a film script; Friends star Matt LeBlanc may prove to be the saviour of a British TV brand; the sad passing of Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme – and much more…
Here’s a round-up of some things you might have missed in the world of entertainment news this week:
What’s your favourite time of day? Have you ever worn odd socks? Why are you dressed as the devil?
Pop magazines took a very different approach to interviews in the 1980s and, as the decade’s biggest girl band, Bananarama found themselves fielding all of the above questions and more.
Smash Hits, Look-In and Number 1 devoted dozens of pages to the trio, many of which dwelt on the fact they lived together on the 11th floor of a block of flats in Holborn.
“It always looked better in the photos than it did in real life,” laughs Keren Woodward, now 56 and living in more comfortable circumstances in Cornwall.
“It was a dive,” recalls her bandmate and childhood friend Sara Dallin.
“You’re not house-proud when you’re young. But now I’d be like, ‘Take your shoes off!'”
Still, those irreverent, Python-esque profiles were often more revealing than the now-standard “tell me about your co-writers” pop interview.
So, to celebrate the reunion of Bananarama’s original line-up – and their first ever tour – we scoured the back issues and put a bunch [get it? – puns ed] of old questions to Sara, Keren and Siobhan to see how their answers have changed.
“Are these Neil Tennant’s questions?” asks Sara before we start.
“He always reminds us he interviewed us once, but I don’t remember it.”
When you were 12, what did you want to be? (Smash Hits, 1983)
Keren: A lot of my family were teachers, so that’s what I always thought I’d end up being. I think I’d have been quite strict – strict but fair – and, I like to think, hugely engaging.
Siobhan: I think I wanted to be [60s pop star] Melanie.
Back in 1983, Siobhan said she would like to be an “air hostess”, while Keren and Sara both talked about becoming “David Essex’s wife”.
Sara: Oh God, I’m sure I never would have said that. Aged 12? Not at 12.
Keren [to Siobhan]: Oh yes, you went for a job as an air hostess. We took your picture, standing on a pouffe.
Sara: In your mother’s skirt, trying to look elegant.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
Sara: Did I say, ‘Dolphin’? No? For God’s sake. Dog? Lion? Pheasant?
Siobhan: I was going to say elephant because I love them so, but they get butchered, don’t they?
Keren: I would have said dog.
The original answers were actually dog (Siobhan), tiger (Sara) and horse (Keren).
Sara: But you hate horses.
Keren: I didn’t know that at the time! I hadn’t been thrown off one yet.
Did you enjoy being pregnant? (Number 1, 1987)
Keren: I absolutely loathed it.
Siobhan: I loved it. Whatever hormones kicked in, I got really happy.
Keren: I just felt very young and unprepared. I didn’t know anyone who’d been pregnant, and I didn’t know anyone who’d had a baby. Because everyone around me didn’t really get it, I just kept on as though nothing was happening, even though I was slightly scared and throwing up everywhere. Sara would say, ‘For God’s sake, you’re only pregnant, come out.’
Speaking in 1987, Keren said the only benefit of pregnancy was being sober, which had meant “I was handy for a lift now and then”. She recently revealed that having children had stopped Bananarama’s original line-up going on tour.
Keren: We were so desperate to get on stage. And, in a way, maybe it was good we didn’t, because we didn’t have the right people around us. We were just doing it ourselves.
Sara: If you look at the early performances, we look incredibly shy. We’d come straight from school, and then we were on Top of the Pops. We had absolutely no clue at all.
Siobhan: I think that was all part of the charm.
Sara: Even when we went on tour in 89 [with Siobhan’s replacement, Jacquie O’Sullivan], I couldn’t say we were hugely confident about what we were doing.
Keren: I mean, the only experience we had of being on stage was getting up, putting on a cassette and singing over the top.
Sara: But it’s like any job. If you work in a bank or an office, you’d be shy when you arrived, and then you’d learn and then you’d be fine. It’s just taken us 30 years.
Sara, did you enjoy covering naked men with your bat wings? (Smash Hits, 1986)
Sara: That’s about the Venus video. The costume was so uncomfortable. It was a really tight corset with two poles running down the side of my arms, and a black wig. It was not an erotic experience, I’m afraid.
Siobhan: That was the first time we really went for an extravaganza in the costume department; obviously triggered by the lyrics of the song. And I think that’s where we discovered our enjoyment of camp.
The video accompanied Venus, the first song the band produced with Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman’s “hit factory”, which also churned out hits for Kylie, Jason and Sinitta.
Keren: When it got really pop and quite camp, that was when Siobhan started to get disillusioned. But for me, personally, it just felt like I’d come alive. I enjoyed that period so much because it was just out-and-out pop. I’d just given up trying to explain we weren’t dimwits and that we were serious artists. So it was just like letting go, and I embraced the whole pop thing and I absolutely loved it.
Siobhan: Making [the album] Wow! with Waterman, Stock and Aitken, they had a very much production-line approach. I felt there wasn’t much room for musical experimentation with them, because they had their sound, and that was frustrating for me.
Sara: We always wrote with them. They would have preferred to write everything, but we wouldn’t let them.
Siobhan: But I have to say, in hindsight, Wow! is the album that hangs together the best.
When did you first realise you were famous? (Smash Hits, 1983)
Keren: In Los Angeles, when Mike Tyson sang Cruel Summer.
Sara: We were walking back from breakfast to our hotel, where he was also staying. He was sitting in a limo, and he saw us and started singing Cruel Summer. We were just gobsmacked.
Keren: And he was world champ at the time. He was just the last person on Earth you’d expect to sing a Bananarama song. And you think, well, your reach must have got quite far with that sort of thing.
Siobhan’s original answer was that she didn’t feel famous, “apart from when you’re recognised on buses”.
Siobhan: I remember our first trip to Santa Monica, this girl got really excited when she saw us, and she came running up to me and shouted, ‘Oh my God, aren’t you the girl from Dexy’s Midnight Runners?’ And I was like, ‘No, that’s my sister.’ [Maire Fahey starred in the video for Dexy’s hit single Come On Eileen].
Don’t you get on each other’s nerves a lot? (Number 1, 1986)
Keren: Now? No.
Siobhan: It’s been hilarious. We haven’t stopped laughing.
Keren: It’s back to the good old days before they turned… stale.
Sara: Stale – that’s a much better word than sour.
In 1986, Siobhan said: “It’s very hard working together and being mates sometimes, but no matter how hard it gets, you sort of understand each other.” She quit the band two years later, and the friends didn’t speak for almost a decade.
Will Bananarama ever make a feature film? (Number 1, 1984)
Sara: Obviously not.
Siobhan: I’m writing a script at the moment, in between Bananarama things. It’s a historical epic, set in Elizabethan times. But I don’t want to give too much away.
Keren fielded this question in 1984, saying: “If we did, it would have to be one of those cheap musicals.”
Keren: We always had plans, on and off. We were approached to do the story of Bananarama as a film.
Sara: The trouble with us was we never had management that consolidated our ideas, so it never got put together. I mean, the Spice Girls made a film, which was kind of what ours was going to be like, but we never got it together.
Siobhan: It would be a TV series now. Things have swung that way.
Keren: We could play the mums.
Is there life on other planets? (Smash Hits, 1986)
Siobhan: Well, for sure. There’s got to be.
Sara: We haven’t discovered any, though. You’d think we would have discovered something by now. All we hear about is water here and gas there.
Maybe this is because, as Siobhan said in 1986, we’d be unable to see alien life forms “because they’re bound to have a totally different chemical make-up”.
Siobhan: Oh yeah, they’re right here in this room but on a different frequency.
Keren: And they are really excited about the Bananarama reunion. They are desperate for it.
What’s your favourite single you’ve released so far?
Sara: Cruel Summer, just because that was such an odd little pop song. It was our first hit in the States, which was unbelievably exciting.
Siobhan: I think we all have that as a favourite, because it just sounds like nothing before or afterwards, really.
Sara’s answer remains the same, but in 1986 Keren plumped for the band’s debut single, Aie-A-Mwana, while Siobhan preferred Really Saying Something for its “shrieky vocals”.
Sara: We’re going to set aside some time this year to get together and do some [new music] for the tour.
Keren: It would be a shame to not have something new. Will it live up to the past? Well if it doesn’t, we won’t release it.
Keren, how often do you wash your hair? (Number 1, 1984)
Sara: Every day. Every day, she washes her hair.
Keren: I’ve got greasy hair, what can I say? I never skip more than one day.
In 1984, Keren claimed the figure was “twice a week”, prompting general disbelief from her friends.
While walking along a deserted beach, you spy a couple making love. Do you stay and watch? (Smash Hits, 1986)
Sara: I’d call the police.
Keren: I’d call all my friends over. I wouldn’t watch on my own. Take some photos.
Keren originally replied she’d “put some mirrored shades on” and watch while pretending to look the other way.
Sara: That’s a bit raunchy.
Siobhan: They were odd questions in those days.
What’s next for Bananarama? (Look-In, October 1987)
Keren: I’m looking forward to doing the vocal arrangements for the tour. That’s my favourite bit. I’m hoping we can sing three-part harmonies on some of the songs, because we always used to sing in unison. It would be nice to do it in a more grown-up way.
Siobhan: The staging is all in the pipeline, but it’ll reflect our personality and “unique style” [everyone laughs].
Keren: I don’t want to be standing there with lasers going off. Our show will be about the camaraderie and the fun.
Speaking on the phone in 1987, Siobhan’s response to this question was simply: “I’m going to get out of this bath. The water’s gone horribly cold.”
The classic Bananarama line-up tours the UK for the first time this November. Tickets are on sale now.
Not since Blur v Oasis has there been a pop battle this epic.
With the release of their new album, reunited pop group Steps valiantly challenged Ed Sheeran’s dominance of the album charts and, at the start of the week, it seemed they would win.
On Monday, Tears On The Dancefloor was 4,000 sales ahead of Ed’s Divide.
But Ed refused to say Sheerio, overtaking his competitors at the last minute and claiming the number one slot for the seventh week in a row.
Divide eventually finished 16,000 units ahead of the Steps album, beating H, Faye, Claire, Lisa and Lee in both the streaming and physical charts.
Steps did, however, have the most-downloaded album of the week.
Their comeback follows a bitter break-up in the early 2000s. Before that, the band clocked up three number one albums and 14 top 10 singles, including three chart toppers.
Top five albums (source: Official Charts Company)
1) Ed Sheeran
Tears On The Dancefloor
3) Rag ‘N’ Bone Man
4) Imelda May
Life Love Flesh Blood
5) Kendrick Lamar
Other new entries in this week’s album chart came from Imelda May (at number five), Texas (six), Maximo Park (11) and Ray Davies (15).
David Bowie also scored two new entries thanks to Record Store Day. Cracked Actor, which features a rare live performance from the 1970s, debuted at 20; while Bowpromo, an early assembly of tracks from the Hunky Dory album, landed at 38.
Top five singles (source: Official Charts Company)
1) Clean Bandit ft Zara Larsson
2) Ed Sheeran
Shape of You
3) Ed Sheeran
4) Harry Styles
Sign Of The Times
In the singles chart, Clean Bandit succeeded where Steps failed – ousting Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You from the pole position with their Zara Larsson-featuring dance hit Symphony.
The song enjoyed a slow, six-week journey to the top and becomes the band’s second consecutive number one, after Rockabye, which topped the Christmas countdown last year.
“We are all amazed,” said the band. “After everything that happened with Rockabye, we didn’t think it would be possible to replicate that but now we’re Number 1 again!
“We’ve been in the US the last few weeks touring with Zara Larsson and we got the chance to tell her it was Number 1. She was so excited!”
Clean Bandit’s chart success means a British act has had the number one single for each of the last 30 weeks.
It is the first time this millennium that homegrown acts have dominated the top 40 for so long.
Other artists making waves in this week’s singles chart included Canadian star Shawn Mendes, whose new single There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back, climbed 136 places to number seven; and Lady Gaga, who scored her 17th top 20 hit with The Cure, a non-album track she premiered at the Coachella music festival.
Further down the chart, Paramore’s Hard Times debuted at 34, just ahead of Lana Del Rey’s new single Lust For Life at Number 38.
Britain’s most popular contemporary art gallery and a new horseracing heritage centre are in the running to be named the UK’s Museum of the Year.
Tate Modern in London and The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art in Newmarket, Suffolk, are both nominated for the £100,000 award.
They are joined in the contest by the Hepworth Wakefield gallery and the Lapworth Museum of Geology, Birmingham.
Sir John Soane’s Museum in London completes the five-strong shortlist.
The Lapworth Museum of Geology
This museum, operated by the University of Birmingham, re-opened last June after a £2.7m redevelopment that was designed restore it to its 1920s grandeur and create three new galleries.
It holds 250,000 specimens, ranging from dinosaur skeletons to volcanic rocks.
The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art
Officially opened by the Queen in November, this complex is home to the National Horseracing Museum, the Fred Packard Museum and Galleries of British Sporting Art, and a yard for the Retraining of Racehorses charity.
It is also home to two of the Queen’s former racehorses and a virtual Clare Balding.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Housed in the former home of 19th Century architect Sir John Soane, this gallery and museum has completed a £7m restoration intended to open up “lost” areas and return it to how it looked when he died and left it to the nation in 1837.
That includes creating 33 per cent more space and putting 10 per cent more objects on display.
Seventeen years after it opened on London’s South Bank, Tate Modern had a record 5.8 million visitors in 2016.
That was partly down to the opening of a 10-storey extension, the Switch House, and exhibitions of photographs owned by Sir Elton John and artwork by Georgia O’Keeffe.
The West Yorkshire gallery celebrated its fifth birthday last year and saw a 21% rise in visitors.
It also launched a major new award for British sculpture and staged exhibitions by Martin Parr, Stanley Spencer and Anthea Hamilton.
The winner of the Art Fund Museum of the Year will be announced on 5 July.
Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar said: “Each of these museums has had a remarkable year, reaching – in a range of ways – new heights in their efforts to serve and inspire their visitors.
“Whether unveiling new buildings, galleries, displays or public programmes, all the finalists have shown a real commitment to innovation and experimentation, offering fresh perspectives and new ways of seeing and understanding their collections.”
Last year’s prize was won by the Victoria and Albert in London.