26 April 2014
It’s a race against time for Mad Dogs star John Simm in a gripping new ITV thrillerWhat would you do if you accidentally stumbled across the scene of a murder only to find yourself accused of being the killer? That’s the nightmare scenario for John Simm in ITV’s new three-part thriller Prey.
BAFTA-nominated actor John, who has starred in top TV dramas including Life On Mars, Doctor Who, The Village and Mad Dogs, plays Detective Sergeant Marcus Farrow, a popular member of the Manchester police force and a dedicated father of two.
“Marcus is a hard-working Manchester detective who is devoted to his wife and sons,” says John. “However, when we meet him, it’s fair to say his relationship with his wife, Abi (Heather Peace), is going through a rough patch. He’s living apart from her but is confident they can get their relationship back on track. He’s a great dad and would do anything for his two boys.”
However, Marcus’s very ordinary life takes a terrible turn when he begins to investigate a seemingly forgotten case. The consequences of this investigation are devastating and Marcus finds himself wrongfully charged with murder.
But as he is being led away to prison, he escapes, and soon Marcus is a man on the run, hiding among the streets of Manchester and trying to outwit his own colleagues.
“Because he’s a detective, Marcus knows the methods the police will use to find him. He knows all the procedures and he knows Manchester, so he really has a head start over his colleagues. He’s always one step ahead,” says John. “When he’s really up against it – he’s desperate and willing to go to any lengths to prove his innocence – that’s when we see how good he is at his job.”
As the police try to track him down, Marcus is on a hunt of his own – to find the real killer and clear his name.
“When I met with the director, Nick Murphy, and producer Tom Sherry, their take on Prey was very exciting,” says John. “I liked the ideas and the vision they had for the piece, about how it was going to be filmed using a minimal crew, fast-paced and on the hoof – no time to get bored.”
The drama certainly isn’t boring to watch, with plenty of heart-racing action sequences and a tense and thrilling plot. To prepare for the role, John, 43, admits to hitting the gym so he was ready for the stunts and the exhausting running scenes.
“When you hit your mid-forties, it’s a good idea to keep your fitness levels up,” he says. “It was a very physical role, with lots of running and climbing fences. It was hard work, but I must say I absolutely loved it.”
Prey also boasts a strong supporting cast. Craig Parkinson (Line Of Duty) plays Marcus’s best friend, Detective Inspector Sean Devlin, and Rosie Cavaliero (Pat & Cabbage) plays Acting Detective Chief Inspector Susan Reinhardt, who is in charge of the operation to catch Marcus.
And Adrian Edmondson, who is better known for his comedic roles in shows such as The Comic Strip Presents…, The Young Ones and Bottom, turns
his talents to tense drama as Assistant Chief Constable Warner.
Prey is written by television newcomer Chris Lunt, who has certainly impressed John with his debut script.
“Chris has done a really great job. It’s a cracking, high-octane, unapologetic thriller that never stands still, never lets up,” John says. “But the characters are real and complex and completely believable. When I read it I just thought it was terrific stuff and unlike anything I’ve done before. There are so many factors in taking on a role. I don’t want to start repeating myself by doing the same thing again and again because that would be dull.
“The script reminded me of The Fugitive, and I’m a big fan of Harrison Ford [star of the movie], so it was exciting to say yes to it,” he adds. “I prefer being busy, and luckily enough I usually play parts where I’m on screen a lot, so the working day goes quickly and it’s much more enjoyable. I find hanging around frustrating and there wasn’t much of that on this job – apart from when I had to hang around, dangling from Trafford Park bridge for a scene!”
Prey begins Monday at 9pm on ITV