Jed Mercurio ‘flattered’ by popularity of Line Of Duty as he collects OBE
Jed Mercurio said he was “flattered and honoured” by the popularity of his hit TV shows, and declined to say if there would be more Line Of Duty as he collected an OBE at Windsor Castle.
The screenwriter and producer, whose successful series also include the political thriller Bodyguard and medical drama Bodies, received his medal for services to TV drama from the Princess Royal at an investiture on Tuesday.
He told the PA news agency: “The ceremony was really enjoyable, very relaxed and the Princess Royal asked me a few questions about my work, and it was a very pleasant conversation”.
He said he did not know if Anne had watched any of his shows.
I'm just really flattered and honoured that so many people watch (my shows)
The sixth series of Line Of Duty, his BBC drama about a police anti-corruption unit, was a ratings juggernaut last year, with 15.9 million viewers tuning in to see H finally unmasked in the season finale, making it the UK’s most-watched drama series of the 21st century so far.
Mercurio would not reveal if there were going to be further series.
He said: “If that happens, I guess we’ll tell people.”
Asked what made his work so successful, the writer said: “I honestly don’t know.
“I’m just really flattered and honoured that so many people watch them and seem to enjoy them and it’s a great privilege.”
His latest series Trigger Point, a six-part ITV thriller about a terrorist summer campaign – again starring Vicky McClure, recently debuted to rave reviews.
In terms of other current projects, he said: “We’re just about to start filming the second season of Bloodlands.
“Again, I’m the executive producer of that.”
He has also been teaching an online screenwriting course via BBC Maestro, revealing tricks from his 25-year career that he shared through workshops and festivals before the pandemic hit.
Asked what advice he would give his students, he said: “You need to work hard at your writing, you need to keep trying.
“You constantly need to be generating material, and eventually if you keep doing that you’ll be successful”.
On the proudest achievement in his career, Mercurio said: “I think the fact that I’m still able to create television having been in the industry for a long time, I think recent years have been very difficult for a lot of people in the industry.
“A lot of people have suffered loss of livelihood and loss of employment, so I’m just counting my blessings.”
Mercurio, from Nelson in Lancashire, began his screenwriting career penning medical dramas such as Cardiac Arrest after practising as a hospital doctor for four years.
He has also taken his writing skills to another medium, authoring several books and a graphic novel called Sleeper with the writer and actor Prasanna Puwanarajah.
Others high-achievers who were honoured at Tuesday’s investitures included politician Kim Leadbeater, the sister of murdered MP Jo Cox; Oscar-winning cinematographer Sir Roger Deakins; Wendy Williams, a solicitor who conducted the 2018 review into the Windrush scandal; neuroscientist and laughter expert Professor Sophie Scott; and Peter Martin, a telecoms engineer who worked through the night to restore a phone line at the Sandringham Estate before Christmas 2020.
Sir David Thompson, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police – one of the largest forces in England, was knighted for services to policing.
He said: “It’s been some challenging years as police numbers fell, but we’re now in the phase where our officer numbers are going back up, so it’s a very exciting time around policing as well.
“So it’s lovely to get recognised in what’s a special year with the Commonwealth Games, and as I’ve just announced, this will be my last year in policing so it’s a special time”.
Jasper Morrison, a product and furniture designer known for his minimalist and modern style and pieces such as the “thinking man’s chair”, collected a CBE for services to design.
Asked what he was most proud of in his vast catalogue of creations, he said: “When you design a lot of things, rather than highlight one of them, I think it’s just the overall effect of improving atmosphere in a variety of ways.”
Pointing to the opulent banqueting room in Windsor Castle, he said: “Every object has this sort of quota of atmospheric effect and when you put them all together, you get atmosphere.”
Mike Hind, a personal trainer who provided care packages to vulnerable families across Teesside during lockdowns, walked 250 miles from Yorkshire to Windsor to collect his MBE to raise money for charity.
Dior menswear fashion designer Kim Jones did not attend the ceremony to collect his OBE for unknown reasons.
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