Adrian Dunbar: who is Line of Duty actor starring in new ITV series Ridley - who is his wife, is he in a band?
Going from one copper to another, Adrian Dunbar is swapping Superintendent Ted Hastings for retired Detective Alex Ridley
and live on Freeview channel 276
But who is the Northern Irish actor, and what else has he been in over the course of his three decade long career?
This is everything you need to know.
Who is Adrian Dunbar?
Dunbar is a Northern Irish actor and director, best known, predominantly for his theatre and television work - more specifically as Superintendent Ted Hastings from the BBC’s Line of Duty.
He was born on 1 August 1958 in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, the oldest of his seven siblings.
After attending St Joseph’s College in Enniskillen, he worked a number of different jobs, including at a pig abattoir before he won a spot at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London age 21.
Dunbar told the Times that leaving Northern Ireland in the 1970s was something of a relief.
He said: “It was a difficult place to be then, very tense, people were living under huge pressure. London was a breathing space.”
The actor also told the Guardian that his first year of drama school was when he was happiest.
“[The] sense of freedom, doing something I wanted to do and being with lovely people,” he said.
Dunbar appeared in a few breakout roles in the 1980s and 1990s, however the early 2000s were something of a quieter period for him - until he was cast in Line of Duty in 2012.
With the role of Hastings, Dunbar found himself being named as “one of the hottest stars on British television” in his 50s.
He told Saga Magazine: “I’m glad it took time. I wouldn’t have handled fame well when I was younger.
“It happened when I knew myself well enough and when I was old enough to take it all with a pinch of salt.”
Is he in a band?
As well as acting, Dunbar has been involved in the music scene throughout his career, even fronting his own band called Adie Dunbar and the Jonahs.
Talking to the Times this month, Dunbar explained that dipping his toes into a number of creative pursuits helped take the pressure off as an actor because “if one thing wasn’t happening, I turned to something else to sustain me”.
He said: “I did festivals with the band and then I acted. I earned enough to keep the show on the road and it means now I have lots of interests.”
Back in 2019, Dunbar said that he hoped to spend some time in the recording studio.
Speaking to Belfast Telegraph’s Sunday Life, he said: “I don’t know what I’m going to do - it might be interesting to write a few songs or something - but definitely I’m going to do something. I was in bands many years ago, so that’s where it started.
“I played in bands, sang backing vocals and all the rest of it.
“That was always something that was there and I just never got a chance to do it.”
He added: “I started acting and that went away and you focus on other things, but I’ve always kept it going and I’ve always done gigs with friends of mine, a lot of jazz gigs in Ronnie Scott’s and stuff like that over the years.”
What films and TV shows has he been in?
While many will know Dunbar from Line of Duty, the Northern Irish actor has been in a number of films and TV shows throughout his career.
His filmography includes roles in movies like A World Apart (1988), My Left Foot (1989), The Crying Game (1992), Widows’ Peak (1994), Richard III (1995), Wild About Harry (2000), Eye of the Dolphin (2006), The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce (2008), Mother’s Milk (2011), Good Vibrations (2012) and The Snowman (2017).
His TV credits also include shows like The Fear (1988), Centrepoint (1990), Children of the North (1991), Melissa (1997), Suspicion (2003), Ashes to Ashes (2009), Silent Witness (2012), A Touch of Cloth (2014), Broken (2017), Blood (2018), Inside No. 9 (2021) and his upcoming ITV police drama Ridley (2022).
Is he married?
Dunbar married Australian actress and casting director Anna Nygh (Sweeney 2, Master of the Game) in 1986, after the two were set up on a blind date by fellow actress Joanne Whalley (The Borgias, Daredevil).
Dunbar told Saga Magazine: “Joanne told me she had a friend she’d like me to meet.
“Anna came backstage and she had these beautiful green eyes which really got me. We went on a few dates.
“Then we went on holiday to Portugal.
“We laughed, we talked, we got on and, after that, I pretty much moved in straight away.”
Talking to Radio 4 about his wife, Dunbar said: “I don’t know anyone else I could have hooked up with who could have handled me.
“I’ve got my woman and she’s a very good one. I wouldn’t let her down.”
The couple have a daughter together, Madeleine, and Dunbar is also a stepfather to Ted, Nygh’s son from a previous relationship.
Dunbar is a grandfather to three children - Amalia, Akrio and Zephyr.
What is Ridley - and when is it on?
Ridley is a new detective drama from ITV, starring Dunbar as the retired Detective Alex Ridley who, now working in a consultancy role, resumes his partnership with former protégée DI Carol Farman, played by Bronagh Waugh (Our House, Viewpoint), who is now in charge of investigations.
ITV says: “When he’s enlisted by Carol as a police consultant on a complex and compelling murder case, the investigation takes a dark and unexpected turn. Turning to her old mentor for support, Carol is keen to access Ridley’s unique insight into crime-solving which has served them so well in the past.
“With more intriguing cases to solve, Ridley will revive his formidable and successful partnership with Carol.
“Inspired by real life retired detectives re-joining police forces in a consultancy role given increasingly over-stretched resources, Ridley will explore thought provoking crime stories in an original and distinctive way.”
The first of four episodes of Ridley will air on ITV on Sunday 28 August at 8pm. Each episode is two hours long, and will end at 10pm.
If you can’t watch Ridley as it’s airing, you’ll be able to catch up on the ITV Hub.