Lee Ingleby as John Bacchus

As an actor, Lee is a true chameleon. Recent television roles have included: Crooked House, A Place Of Execution, Rapunzel (when he played a female tennis star), Life On Mars, Wind In The Willows as Mole, Early Doors, Nicholas Nickleby as Smike, Spaced and Nature Boy.

Recent films include: Doghouse, Wintering, Hippie Hippie Shake, Harry Potter, Master And Commander, Borstal Boy and Ever After.

“I always thought that Bacchus must have seen Doctor No and thought, ‘I want to be that man – I want to be Sean Connery!’ I think that’s where he stands and that’s why he dresses how he does and drives his MG sports car. He likes the mod look, and sees pictures of The Kinks and the Rolling Stones and says ‘I’m having that hair do!’ Bacchus wants to go down to London where he thinks it’s all happening. He married young: he got together with the boss’s daughter, she got pregnant, they got married – that was just the way it was back then. He’s young and excited by his career.

“I don’t know if Bacchus and Gently are the perfect police partnership; it’s more a conflict of two very different minds and methods that makes them interesting. There are moments when they genuinely despair of each other! Bacchus was originally in awe of Gently as from the Yard and that’s the ladder he is so keen to climb. He wants to impress him and show him he’s capable and a better copper than Gently thinks he is. I do think Bacchus is a good copper but he jumps in feet first, goes on his instinct and is very impatient – and thinks ‘what’s wrong with a bit of a clout?’ With any sort of working relationships, there are moments that are fun, and they respect and look out for each other.

“London was the centre of the Swinging Sixties and by setting the series in the North East, it shows much more of the changes happening as it took time to filter up the country. Certainly attitudes were different, with a lot of small communities still – like the mill community in Gently Through The Mill. I feel that the series is embracing the change – the youth voice rather than the stiff upper-lipped Britain. It’s not that long ago really, but it’s fascinating remembering that (police) interviews weren’t taped, they were written down by hand and forensics, although established, were not what we know today: then it was just finger-print dusting.

“I love everything about the period, the cars are amazing and I love my character’s MG sport! As an actor, I don’t really need to try to recreate the Sixties, as it’s all there for you. Susan Scott (costume designer) has done a fantastic job and seeing the make-up and hair design, especially for the girls, it’s great. I love my costumes, and given the chance I’d buy all of my suits and shoes. The suits have been tailored for me and are really comfortable to wear. I’d be bang up for being able to walk out in a suit – the trouble is people would think I was living that character all the time!

“Some of the furniture on set’s been great. I loved the colourful white bubble chairs with red interior that you can sit cocooned in, on the set of the Rakes office (Gently In The Night). They were very retro and funky and would probably be worth a fortune now. I’m quite into retro-Sixties furniture and have some at home. I’ve still got a record player and still play vinyl; I think it sounds so much better than digital.  I also have an old dialling phone – but dialling 999 would have taken ages!

“I’m a Seventies child but I love the Sixties. I love The Stones, The Beatles and The Kinks. My dad was a Buddy Holly fan and The Beatles were highly influenced by him so guess that they would be my favourite group from the period. My body shape lends itself to the Sixties dress sense. I’d love to have lived back then. It seemed like an exciting time for change, music and fashion. But I couldn’t have lived without my contact lenses! I like the romance of not having computers but I do like the ease of having a mobile phone it’s almost impossible to imagine life without it. Funny isn’t it: it’s your keys, credit card and mobile phone – if you’ve got them you’re fine.

“We filmed Inspector George Gently on location in and around Dublin, which I’ve loved. At weekends I tended to stick around Dublin, it’s a good Saturday night out and there were so many pubs – I was trying to get through them all!”

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