Where is Line of Duty set? Filming locations and setting of season 6 of the police drama - and when it’s on TV

Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston return to our screen for the new season of Line of Duty

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 4:20 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 4:27 pm
Line of Duty returned on 21 March 2019, for a sixth season (Picture: BBC)
Line of Duty returned on 21 March 2019, for a sixth season (Picture: BBC)

On 21 March, unit AC-12 hit our screens again as Line of Duty returned for its sixth season.

The cop drama debuted in 2012, with Superintendent Ted Hastings and Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott managing the anti-corruption unit at Kingsgate Police Station - and rooting out bent coppers.

One thing that has remained a mystery since the show’s debut is the setting of constabulary although eagle eyed viewers have spotted plenty of clues.

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So, what do we know about where season six of the BBC drama is filmed and set, and how did filming change while working under Covid restrictions?

Where is Line of Duty filmed?

While Line of Duty’s first series was filmed in Birmingham, season two onwards has been filmed in Belfast - including series six.

In series one, some scenes were shot in the 19th century Birmingham pub, The Queen’s Arms.

Since moving to Belfast, viewers have noticed iconic city buildings in the background of scenes in the past few series - including the exterior of Ulster Hall, located in the centre of Belfast, and the Belfast Central Library on Royal Avenue.

Actors from the series have also been reportedly spotted filming at Obel Tower, St Anne’s Cathedral and on 4th Street Station on Ormeau Avenue.

Though no confirmation has been made by cast or production staff, it is thought that Belfast Central Library is usually the filming location of the police station.

Where is Line of Duty set?

It was first assumed that the team of AC-12 were based out of a fictional version of Broad Street, Birmingham.

Despite there being no mention of real Birmingham areas, maps of Birmingham appear on walls and telephone numbers use an 0121 area code, as well as some paper documents showing ‘B’ for Birmingham and ‘MK’ for Milton Keynes area codes.

However, the move to Belfast and attempts to keep landmarks out of any production has created doubt about whether the fictional drama is supposed to be based on real locations.

In the drama, detectives and police officers refer to fictional areas Kingsgate, Edge Park and Moss Heath suggesting that there is no specific UK city the drama is associated with.

The AC-12 building address is 296 Manor Road, Kingsgate, LB1 2CV, but LB is not real either.

The storylines of Line of Duty are also not based on true stories, so no assumption can be made about where the detectives are supposed to be working.

Creator Jed Mercurio said he is assisted by a script adviser and former police inspector called "John", who helps him keep storylines “as close to the right procedures as possible”.

Mercurio revealed his idea for the show came after the killing of Brazilian man Jean Charles de Menezes back in 2005. He was wrongly identified as a terror suspect and shot dead by police at Stockwell Station on the London Underground.

Mercurio has said there is a new location featured in season six - the home station of Kelly McDonald's DCI Joanne Davidson.

"One of our main locations for this series is Hillside Lane Police Station," he said.

"It’s actually a police station that is mentioned way back in series one – Matthew Cottan served here before he joined Kingsgate station where he was on the same team as DCI Tony Gates."

How was filming affected by the coronavirus pandemic?

Filming for the current series began in February last year but was postponed in March, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The cast commenced filming again in August, when national restrictions had eased across the UK.

This meant changing locations, while still shooting in Belfast, from real buildings to production sets.

Mercurio told Belfast Live: “We have taken lots of precautions for cast and crew. We have filmed on studio sets which is a departure from previous series where we have shot in an actual working building.

“The reason why is because we can ventilate the set and socially distance our cast and crew. We have had rigorous measures in place during the shoot."

Where can I watch Line of Duty?

Line of Duty season six is currently on BBC One on Sundays at 9pm.

You can catch up on all previous episodes, including season one to five, on the BBC iPlayer.