The Responder | BBC | Made in Liverpool

The Responder is a distinctive new take on crime drama from the makers of The Salisbury Poisonings, Dancing Ledge Productions. Written by ex-police officer Tony Schumacher, his first original series for television, The Responder holds a mirror up to the emotional extremes of life on the front line of British policing – sometimes darkly funny, sometimes painfully tragic, always challenging.

When and where to watch The Responder?

Release date: The Responder premiered on Monday 24 January on BBC One.

All five episodes are available now on BBC iPlayer here.


Watch the trailer to The Responder

Watch the official trailer for The Responder below.



The Responder follows Chris Carson (Martin Freeman), a crisis-stricken, morally compromised, unconventional urgent response officer tackling a series of night shifts on the beat in Liverpool. Whilst trying to keep his head above water both personally and professionally, Chris is forced to take on a new rookie partner Rachel (Adelayo Adedayo). Both soon discover that survival in this high pressure, relentless, night time world will depend on them either helping or destroying each other.


Who is in the cast of The Responder?

The Responder is filled with arresting actors, with leads Martin Freeman (Chris Carson) and Adelayo Adedayo (Rachel Hargreaves) joined by an assembly of established and upcoming Scouse actors.

Pictured: (From top left to top right) Martin Freeman, Adelayo Adelayo, Emily Fairn, (from bottom left to bottom right) Ian Hart, Josh Finan, Warren Brown, MyAnna Buring. © 2021 Dancing Ledge Productions


According to director Tim Mielants (Peaky Blinders, Legion): newcomers Emily Fairn and Josh Finanwere both sent from heaven,” speaking of their casting of Casey and Marco.

Ian Hart returns for his third back-to-back Liverpool drama, following his powerful performances in Sky’s Tin Star: Liverpool opposite Tim Roth, and Channel 4’s Help opposite Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham.

Warren Brown is making a return to Liverpool drama, following his unforgettable performance in BBC’s Good Cop – which similarly centred on a police constable, who’s actions blended with either side of the law.

MyAnna Buring joins the cast after having worked with producers Dancing Ledge on The Salisbury Poisonings, as Chris’s wife, Kate, who is “holding things together” for the two of them.

Philip S McGuinness, Mark Womack, Dave Hart, Kerrie Hayes, Michael Starke, Victor McGuire, David Bradley, Phil Barantini and Rita Tushingham also star.


Where was The Responder filmed?

Producers Dancing Ledge Productions filmed The Responder across Liverpool City Region with investment and support by the LCR Production Fund through the Liverpool Film Office with funding from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Single Investment Fund.

Production filmed scenes in Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley, Wirral and St Helens, visiting a wide range of LCR locations, just as Schumacher would have travelled to on duty as a policeman.

Locations include William Brown Street, Sweeting Street, Crosby, Everton, Baltic Triangle, St Andrews Gardens and many more to be revealed…


Is The Responder a true story?

In some way I feel that I am The Responder to a degree and that this is my story.”

“I never did anything illegal, which Chris does. But I worked with a copper who ended up in prison.” In an interview with The Guardian, creator, writer and ex-police officer, Tony Schumacher says The Responder is “loosely based” on his experiences.


Is Martin Freeman doing a Scouse accent in The Responder?

The question on all of Liverpool’s lips…

Marin Freeman as Chris in BBC’s The Responder © 2021 Dancing Ledge Productions – Photographer: Rekha Garton

Yes! Martin Freeman spent around 18 months working with their voice coach in preparation for the role, which he was determined to nail. “I really felt Chris had to be from the city.

“there was no way I was prepared to go on telly doing a terrible Scouse accent in Liverpool with a load of Liverpudlian actors. There’s just no way. I’d get taken to the cleaners and rightly so” said Freeman.

“It read pure Liverpudlian to me and I knew Tony was from Liverpool.

“I was really pleased when I heard that some of the Scouse actors asked if I was from Merseyside – it was like I’d passed some sort of test.

Actors including Liverpool-legend, Ian Hart: “God he’s great at it! It’s just like singing you just have to learn the melody and then the tune.


Behind the scenes of The Responder

The Making Of The Responder

The Responder cast and creatives take fans behind the scenes in featurette.

Watch here.


Exclusive Images | Liverpool Film Office

Who doesn’t love snaps from behind-the-scenes? We’ve got an exclusive gallery of photos from filming on location of The Responder, including some of Martin Freeman smiling in between takes!

(C) 2021 Dancing Ledge Productions

Check out our exclusive images here.



BBC Radio Merseyside: Q&A with cast & crew

BBC Radio Merseyside’s Ngunan Adamu hosts a fantastic live Q&A with creator Tony Schumacher, stars Martin Freeman, Adelayo Adedayo, Emily Fairns, Josh Finan, Executive Producer Laurence Bowen and Producer Rebecca Ferguson.

Watch the Q&A on Liverpool Film Office’s Facebook page here.


Broadcast Now | The Responder: crime drama gets a dose of reality

Tony Schumacher and Martin Freeman are cover stars of Broadcast’s February 2022 edition.

HOW LIVERPOOL IS BACKING PRODUCTION‘ hear from Liverpool Film Office Head, Lynn Saunders, and Fund Advisor and Executive Producer, Christopher Moll.

Read the article here.

Drama Quarterly | Night Shift

Executive Producer for Dancing Ledge Productions, Laurence Bowen highlights working with Liverpool Film Office on The Responder: “The combination of coronavirus and night shoots was “punishing” for cast and crew, according to Bowen. “But working in Liverpool was brilliant,” he says. “The Liverpool Film Office really enabled us to get access to all the locations we needed, so the experience of making it was both brilliant and painful for those two reasons.”

Read the article here.

Baltic Triangle Podcast: Tony Schumacher and Liverpool Locations

In two exciting interviews, Baltic Triangle podcast speak with Tony Schumacher ahead of the release of The Responder, and Faye and Claire Newton from Liverpool Locations.

Listen to the podcast here.


Radio Times Podcast: Martin Freeman and Tony Schumacher

While talking to Jane Garvey, Freeman reveals how he perfected not only his Scouse accent, but his gait – learning to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. He also discusses how this role elevated his opinion of the police force.


Listen here.

Guardian: Martin Freeman and Tony Schumacher

In an exclusive interview with Guardian’s Mark Lawson, Martin Freeman and Tony Schumacher go deep into the grit of The Responder, and extremes of emergency police work.

Read here.


Liverpool ECHO: Ex Police officer Tony Schumacher on getting started

I went for a pint with Jimmy, and every so often I’d be thinking ‘I’m in the pub with Jimmy McGovern… I’m basically in the pub with God‘.”

Read Tony’s interview here.


Graham Norton Show: Martin Freeman

Martin joins Graham’s sofa to talk The Responder, in the chat show’s first show of 2022.

Watch here.



Episode One of The Responder had a consolidated viewing figure of a fantastic 7.6 million, with audiences watching on BBC One and iPlayer.

According to Broadcast, The Responder amassed a 27.2% share of the broadcast, with 4.3m households watching Episode 1 on BBC One.



The Responder’s launch was met with five-star reviews from major media outlets, praising its fresh authentic writing, stellar cast and gripping story.

The Guardian: 5* – “riveting as a thriller and as profound as a documentary

Radio Times: 5* –Gripping BBC drama is the anti-Line of Duty”

Evening Standard: 5* – “Authentic, propulsive, funny and powerful

METRO: 5* –Martin Freeman’s inspired cop drama is a career highlight

The Telegraph: 5* –an accomplished script, with a plot that is never predictable”

The Times: 4* –bleak but knockout drama electrifies cop genre

Daily Mail: 5* – Schumacher creates pithy dialogue crammed with memorable zingers

Culture Whisper: 5* –an intense moral drama as much as a Safdie Brothers-like criminal caper”