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Vicky McClure: from Dorothy Perkins to Line of Duty

The popular actor is back on our screens in new ITV crime drama Trigger Point 

Thanks to the phenomenal success of the BBC drama Line of Duty, Vicky McClure is one of the UK’s most watched actors, says Terri White in The Guardian. Yet there was a point when she almost gave up on the career she’d dreamt of since childhood. 

Born into a working-class family – her father was a joiner; her mother a hairdresser – she won a place at The Television Workshop drama school in Nottingham aged 11. At 15, she was cast in Shane Meadows’s drama A Room for Romeo Brass; the film was well received, and she assumed that her path to Hollywood was laid. But then: nothing. Broke and dejected, she went to work at Dorothy Perkins, and in offices. 

“I didn’t have this little pot of money that had been saved for me for years and all of a sudden you hit 18 and it’s like, you’ve hit the jackpot,” she says. “I just worked instead. I don’t remember having a bad time. I loved the Christmas parties. I loved my mates. I loved not having to bring my work home. I loved sick pay, holiday pay!” 

But then six years later, Meadows cast her again, in his film This is England. This time, her career took off. But McClure herself stayed put: she still lives quietly with her partner in Nottingham. Her time in the acting wilderness kept her grounded, she says. “I love my job, but I don’t put it on a pedestal like it’s the most important thing in my life.”

A new ‘prime role’

Having starred as Detective Inspector Kate Fleming in Line of Duty, McClure has teamed up once again with Jed Mercurio for another “explosive thriller”, The Guardian said. In ITV’s new six-part crime drama Trigger Point, McClure plays “gutsy” bomb disposal officer Lana “Wash” Washington. 

It’s a “prime role” for the 38-year-old, which she delivers “very smoothly, with great authenticity”, Radio Times said. This is what might have led Mercurio to say “she’s the top of every casting wish list in British TV”. The Trigger Point executive producer added: “We needed someone who was just totally authentic, someone you would completely believe in everything that the character does and her name came up in the very first conversation about casting.”

Some fans may compare Trigger Point to Line of Duty, but this is not something that worries McClure. “I’m not concerned in so much as this is what actors do,” she told the Daily Express. “I have fallen into this genre and Line of Duty... we never expected it to do what it’s done. People loved Line of Duty so if there is any comparison it might not be a bad thing.”

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