Sunderland actor Laura Elphinstone talks of star role in Line of Duty and Game of Thrones

Sunderland actor Laura Elphinstone's interest in performing began as she watched her father lead the Royalty Theatre, while her mother taught drama and English in the city.
Sunderland actor Laura Elphinstone's interest in performing began as she watched her father lead the Royalty Theatre, while her mother taught drama and English in the city.

As first scenes go, arresting Line of Duty’s Superintendent Ted Hastings is some introduction to the hit show’s audience.

Sunderland actor Laura Elphinstone made her debut appearance on the BBC One prime time drama on Sunday and will return tomorrow night in the final feature-length instalment in the fifth series of the Jed Mercurio show.

She plays Detective Inspector Michelle Brandyce, a member an anti-corruption team brought in to investigate Hastings’ own unit which probes “bent coppers.”

The 36-year-old from High Barnes is also due to appear in the last season of Game of Thrones playing Nora - although the details of her role in the HBO series remain under wraps.

Her love of acting stems from her mum Jude, who taught English and drama at Thornhill School and has now retired, and her late father, Chris, who was the artistic director at the Royalty Theatre, where she and brother Sam played as he led productions.

The former Barnes Infants and Junior school pupil studied Btec in performing arts at Newcastle College before going on to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and now lives in London with husband Tim Chipping, an actor who has appeared in Sherlock, Eastenders and Liar.

The final episode of series five of the Line of Duty is being screened this weekend. Photo copyright of World Productions.

The final episode of series five of the Line of Duty is being screened this weekend. Photo copyright of World Productions.

She will be watching tomorrow’s Line of Duty as Insp Kate Fleming, played by Vicky McClure, and Det Sgt Steve Arnott, played by Martin Compston, discover if their boss, played by Adrian Dunbar, is really H, the suspected leader of an organised crime gang (OCG.)

“I was asked along to audition for it and met Susan Tully, the director, who is great because she has been an actor herself and knows what it’s like on set, and then I got a call back asking if I’d take it,” she said.

“It’s such a well-oiled machine, but you feel so responsible to get it right and the writing is fantastic, Ged really lets it play out and does all the hard work for you.

“Arresting who could be H, that felt quite big, and working with Adrian Dunbar is like a dream, and that was my first day on set.

I knew it was a great show, but I didn’t know how much people loved it.

Laura Elphinstone

“Just to work on such a big show, there’s a different pressure on you, being part of that team, and I got to hang out with people who played members of the OCG, they were really lovely, and then there was Vicky and Martin, who are really great.

“Then there are these interrogation scenes, which are quite extensive.

“There’s already a lot of tension in the room and you get 13 page scenes.
“The response from friends has been good, they’ve been trying to get my drunk and ask who H is, but my lips are sealed, and I’ve been stopped by people who saw me and have chatted about it.

“I knew it was a great show, but I didn’t know how much people loved it.

“I loved filming Game of Thrones, and I’ve worked in some amazing theatres, but it’s also been a real joy to do some work on screen - this is so big it’s like a film set.”

Her television jobs, which also include Call the Midwife, Vera and Holby City, follow on from a long line of theatre shows at venues including the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Society and Royal Court.

Laura also appears regularly in BBC Radio Four’s Home Front, which features stories from the First World War and she is also due to appear in HBO series Chernobyl and Military Wives alongside Kristin Scott Thomas.