TV preview: Prey

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John Simm has a lot on his plate at the moment. He’s been hard at work in Vancouver making Intruders for BBC America, and shooting series two of period drama The Village for BBC1.

This week he also headlines this new Manchester-based thriller in which he plays Marcus Farrow, a hardworking detective who is devoted to his wife and two sons.

“When we meet him it’s fair to say his relationship with wife Abi (Heather Peace) is going through a “rough patch”, he’s living apart from them but is confident they can get their relationship back on track. He’s a great dad and would do anything for his two boys.”

When he becomes prime suspect at a murder scene, his world is turned upside down.

After being arrested and charged, it looks like Farrow is going to spend some time inside. However, when he gets the chance to escape, our hero grabs it with both hands and goes on the run in the Manchester streets he used to patrol.

The troubled protagonist is not just trying to avoid capture but also wants to get to the bottom of the case and clear his name.

Making any drama can be exhausting, so how did Simm prep for such a tiring shoot?

“I prepared by upping my gym work,” he explains. “When you hit your mid-forties it’s a good idea to keep the fitness levels up.

“It was a very physical role, lots of running, hanging off bridges and climbing fences, hard work, but I must say I absolutely loved it.”

This might be his first experience working with Nick Murphy, but Adrian Edmondson and the director are old mates, so when it came to making Prey, there was a strong chance he’d offer the former Young Ones star a role.

“We made a programme quite a long time ago about Chernobyl – a kind of drama documentary, and it got him noticed really,” explains Ade. “Ever since then he’s given me bit parts in things. I’m like his version of Alfred Hitchcock, so I appeared in Blood (Murphy’s 2012 movie) and I also appear in this new programme, playing Assistant Chief Constable,” he laughs, well aware of the fact it’s light years away from Vyvyan, the punk rocker who made his name in Ben Elton’s classic sitcom.

“From The Young Ones to Assistant Chief Constable! I look really good in a uniform man, I tell you.”

Given Edmondson’s busy workload, whether promoting cider, or having a merry time up and down the UK making Ade in Britain, Ade at Sea or The Dales, there’s little wonder he didn’t have a lot of time to play DCI Warner in this new drama.

“It’s slightly more than a bit part, but not much more,” he explains. “The avuncular authority figure is what I’ve become,” laughs ITV’s much in-demand presenter.

Edmondson’s next major assignment is touring Australia with his band The Bad Shepherds.

“We did some (gigs) last year and we felt we hadn’t done enough when we went last time, so we’re going back to do more,” he explains. “It’s kind of an adventure really.”

PREY, ITV, MONDAY 9pm

Ambulance on BBC One.

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