Blue Lights: Interview with Matthew Carver who plays Cal Ellis

Describe how Cal fits into the story of Blue Lights?

Cal is Grace’s 17-year-old son, and he’s often seen when she is at home, whether it’s making dinner or doing his homework. His is part of the domestic sub-plot that serves as a counter-point to the action in the police force.

Describe Cal’s relationship with his mother Grace?

It is important to stress that at the outset Cal and his mum Grace have a close relationship. There is a lot of love here. That he is a teenage son to a single mother brings with it a whole host of interesting complications to the dynamic of their relationship, and furthermore his racial difference to his mother becomes a point of contention later on in the series.

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Did you do any specific research into the part?

I had never visited Belfast until filming, so I didn’t really know what to expect when I first arrived. Luckily the cast, crew and people of Belfast were very generous with their conversation and taught me a great deal about this wonderful city over the course of my time there. I spent quite a bit of time in different museums, learning about the city’s history, both recent and further in the past. Many of the legacies of the period known as the Troubles are still noticeable today so historical context for me was indispensable to my understanding.

What difficulties do we see Cal go through on his journey through the series?

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Cal’s main difficulty, for me anyway, is the complex relationship he develops with his own race. He has always known it bothers him and makes him different, but as he has got older he has become more and more aware of the way in which racial prejudice directly affects his life. His run-in with the police is a particularly challenging moment for him. It affects his relationship with his mother, his thoughts about university, and even his relationships with his friends.

What can audiences expect from the series?

Hopefully they can expect to become really invested in the characters and their relationships, which for me are the backbone of the series. These six episodes are an emotional rollercoaster, set against the backdrop of a truthful representation of Belfast which is a wonderful city, even if it is always raining.


Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.