Stephen Tompkinson is back very soon on ITV playing Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and he tells us what he enjoys about playing the characters and why it’s great to be back.
Stephen Tompkinson reveals his favourite scenes to shoot on DCI Banks are when his character, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, has to interview suspects of crime.
“I always enjoy interview scenes more than anything,” says Stephen, who has starred in DCI Banks since 2010. “They are like mini games of chess between the police and the suspect in question.
“If the suspect is guilty more often than not they are lying in the interview or are very good at covering their tracks. However, the police have various methods of trying to extract the truth. As an actor it’s always really interesting to play, especially when we have to try and get across what is going on between the lines through our body language.”
Stephen is delighted by the audience response to DCI Banks and to be able to return for a fourth series of the drama.
“It’s great to be back. DCI Banks seems to have found a real key audience and that is terrific news for us all.
“Most people are a fan of the genre. I think on some level we all hope justice prevails should we ever be called on to need it.”
Stephen was also pleased to be reunited with the crew on DCI Banks, which films in Yorkshire.
“Each year we’ve returned to film the series the crew have remained very loyal. There’s always a very nice feeling on set when we get together and we have a lot of fun. The crew have become a very reliable first audience. They were really pleased with the results last year and have said how much they enjoyed working on the drama this time, which is great.
“Leeds is becoming a real home-from-home for me. It’s a lovely place to film. In Yorkshire we are spoilt with a variety of locations. That’s the beauty of it. It can be a cosmopolitan city crime or something shot in the countryside against a dramatic backdrop. It really adds to the drama as a whole.”
DCI Banks has previously been adapted from novels by acclaimed writer Peter Robinson. However, this new series will comprise of three original stories inspired by Peter’s work. Stephen says:
“It’s lovely to have done individual stories of our own based on Peter’s books. We’ve tried to keep to his individual style of writing, which includes very interesting moral grey areas.”
“The scripts for each of the three stories, told over six episodes are very good. They are full of intrigue!
“In the first story, What Will Survive, a body is found with no identification on it. We only find out who she is from an Estonian tattoo. We learn the girl has come over to look for her sister who recently disappeared. The investigation leads the team to very unexpected places and what seems straightforward becomes a twisted web for Banks to undo.
“In Buried a body of an Asian woman is washed up in the city centre but we learn she was killed further upstream. What could appear on the surface to be a family matter, like an honour killing, leads us on a journey to Nottingham.
“The final story, Ghosts, is about a young lad whose body has been dumped on the moors. There are various suspects including someone from Helen’s past..!”
As well as intriguing crime stories, Stephen believes the secret to DCI Banks success is it’s main character.
“I think the audience admire Banks’ integrity and work ethic. He’s a no nonsense policeman and doesn’t have any particular quirks.
“Banks is married to his job as a detective chief inspector. He’s the type of policeman you’d want on your case as he’s a true professional and always gives 100%. I think people want a policeman who isn’t fanciful in any way if they are working to seek justice. People want them to do their job to the best of their ability, and Banks is the sort of man you can rely on to do just that.”
Speaking about why Banks makes a good copper, Stephen says:
“Banks has a real sense of justice and belief in the system. He will strive as hard as he can to make sure bad people get put away. He’s not out for his own ends at all. It’s a vocational job for him and he can’t act any other way.
“His real strength is his sense of decency. He’s not prepared to break the rules. But Banks isn’t all perfect. His faults are in his personal life. He’s not able to accept what’s in front of him and move forward in life. I think perhaps he’s too scared. He’s had one divorce and is frightened of messing up again, so he’s stuck in limbo.”
In the previous series we saw Banks take a break from his relationship with DS Annie Cabbot. So, is there a chance we will see the pair rekindle their love affair?
“Annie told Banks she couldn’t hang around forever as she has to think of her daughter, Isla. In this series Annie has moved on and renewed her relationship with David, who is Isla’s father. There’s not really anything Banks can do about it. But watching Annie walk away from him is hard and whether he acts on that, we’ll have to see!
“It’s possible Annie is with David out of convenience. But the question is whether Banks can hold down a relationship with Annie and still be the talented policeman we know him to be. He needs to prioritise which is more important to him, especially as he’s not getting any younger.”
The relationship with Annie isn’t the only thing complicating Banks’ personal life – this series also explores his relationship with his estranged father, Arthur, played by Keith Barron.
“Banks’ mother sadly passes away. It comes completely out the blue for him and his father. Banks’ brother was also killed in the second series so now it’s only him and his father left. Their relationship isn’t the easiest. They have to deal with the shock of losing her whilst trying to look after each other.
“They have to get to know each other again and it’s quite an emotional journey. Banks finds it difficult when Arthur points out his personality defects.
“At this time in his life he has to think about what he’s going to do, and who he’s going to end up with.”
DCI Banks Soon on ITV