Line of Duty’s Alastair Natkiel had to keep ‘H’ identity quiet after knowing for ‘a while’

Line of Duty: Nigel Boyle teases ‘talks’ about new series

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Alastair Natkiel, who plays Lee Banks in Line Of Duty, has spoken exclusively to Express.co.uk on how he discovered the identity of the character “H”, also known as “The Fourth Man”, and managed to keep his identity secret. The actor explained how he was initially left baffled when his co-star and friend Nigel Boyle, who plays Detective Ian Buckells, had continued to urge him to read the series finale script on multiple occasions.

I had known for a while, but I kept very quiet

Alastair Natkiel

When he eventually got round to learning how the season was going to end, Alastair was left completely stunned.

Opening up on his reaction to Detective Buckells being unveiled as the mystery leader of the OCG (Organised Crime Group), Alastair said: “I was like bloody hell, Nige. As soon as I read it I messaged him like, ‘Oh my god mate’.”

“He was like, ‘I know, this is bonkers’.

“So we had a big old chat about it, because obviously there was only a small handful of people that he could talk to about it. “

Nigel had only revealed his character’s true identity to a very small circle of people to ensure there would be no leaks ahead of the series’ dramatic ending.

Alastair continued: “I think he told his wife, and other than that I don’t think he told any other friends.

“So obviously with me being a friend of his in the cast, it was good for him to chat through stuff and talk through ideas and everything he needed to do to work on to put it together for himself as an actor.”

Although he had the answer to the question on every viewer’s lips, Alastair did not crack under pressure to reveal who was behind the mysterious mastermind of crime.

He added: “So I knew and I had known for a while, but I kept very quiet.

“Lots of friends and family always asking me. Even from the get-go when Karl Banks was mentioned people were asking me, ’Is Karl Banks your brother? Karl Banks must be related to you?’.

“My dad was like, ‘There is no way there can be two Banks’ in the same series and not be related’.

“I didn’t give anything away to anyone,” he finished.

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Viewers were completely blindsided when DCI Ian Buckells was revealed as the “fourth man” in the series six finale.

On Twitter, many fans expressed their shock over the revelation, and some also shared disappointment after expecting it to be one of the leading characters such as Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), Kate Flemming (Vicky McClure) or Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar).

One typed: “Waited 10 years for this disappointment.”

Another replied: “I WANTED A BETTER ENDING. I NEEDED A BETTER ENDING.”

While a third commented: “I actually really enjoyed the final episode, I think it made perfect sense Buckells being H.

Nigel also spoke about the moment Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio told him his criminal character would play a pivotal role in the series, after first appearing in season five.

“We’d had the first four scripts and started filming some of series six when we had to stop due to the first lockdown.

 “When we were about to resume filming, Jed sent me a text saying, ‘Are you free for a chat at some point today? Don’t worry it’s not that call’.

“He called me and said, ‘The scripts for the next episodes are going to be sent out imminently and so it’s time to tell you the secret that I’ve been keeping, you’re going to be revealed as someone rather significant’.”

Follow Alastair on social media

Twitter: @AlastairNatkiel

Insta: @alastairnatkiel

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