Duty calls as Martin goes on a Scottish Fling

Friday: Martin Compston’s Scottish Fling - (BBC Two, 9.30pm)

For millions of people, there’s simply no place like home.

No matter where we go or who we meet, being back in the place where we grew up, formed our personalities and shaped our lives, is always comforting and comfortable.

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Call it nostalgia, passion, love or whatever else you like, but home is often where our hearts really lie.

Martin Compston and Phil MacHugh

That certainly seems to be the case for Martin Compston. The Line of Duty star now lives with his wife and son in Las Vegas, but jumped at the chance to front this new, six-part series in which he and his friend, TV presenter Phil MacHugh, travel the length and breadth of the nation in an attempt to find out what makes modern Scotland tick.

It’s certainly a far cry from Compston’s day job, and the role that made him a household name – Line of Duty’s DI Steve Arnott, the straight-arrow anti-corruption cop who isn’t even Scottish.

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But then, had life worked out how the actor had hoped, he’d be famous for a very different reason now, because he’d be reaching the end of his career as a professional footballer. The Greenock-born star was a youth player at Aberdeen before joining for his local team Greenock Morton. He made two appearances and then auditioned for a part in Ken Loach’s film Sweet Sixteen, which was set to be filmed nearby.

Despite having no previous acting experience, Compston landed the lead and the rest, as they say, is history. But now he’s being given a new challenge – appearing as himself on screen.

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“We are thrilled to be working with Martin Compston on this new series and to let viewers see another side to one of the country’s top acting talents as he and his friend Phil take a deep dive into contemporary Scotland,” says Louise Thornton, head of commissioning at BBC Scotland. “It is a really exciting project, developed by Tern TV and BBC Scotland, working in partnership with BBC Two as part of our ongoing commitment to more nations and network co-production.”

“Martin is royalty in Scotland and a passionate patriot, so who better to take viewers on an entertaining journey?” adds David Marshall, Tern Television’s head of entertainment. “But this series isn’t just a sedate tour of the familiar sites – it’s a visceral and experiential trip, contrasting hilarious moments and fascinating revelations with universal themes of identity, friendship and social good.”

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Compston himself says of the project: “I’ve travelled all over the country for work and leisure – but this is the first time I’ll be meeting real modern Scots on camera, sharing their thoughts and passions. We’re excited to get stuck in, and to experience the best that Scotland has to offer in the 21st century.”

So get set for a rip-roaring adventure that takes in bustling cities and remote rural areas, as well as everything else in between. The fun begins as Compston indulges in the kind of seaside fun he used to enjoy as a child, including ice-creams and games of crazy golf.

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He and MacHugh also chat to Helensburgh-born Drag Race winner Lawrence Chaney about his life and career.