Adrian Dunbar

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Adrian Dunbar
Dunbar in 2014
Born (1958-08-01) 1 August 1958 (age 65)
Alma materGuildhall School of Music and Drama
  • Actor
  • screenwriter
  • director
  • singer
Years active1980–present
Notable workAshes to Ashes (2009)
Line of Duty (2012–2021)
Anna Nygh
(m. 1986)

Adrian Dunbar (born 1 August 1958) is an Irish actor, director and singer, known for his television and theatre work. He co-wrote and starred in the 1991 film Hear My Song, nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the BAFTA awards.[1]

He played Superintendent Ted Hastings in all six series of BBC Television's Line of Duty (2012–21). He has appeared as Alan Cox in The Jump, Martin Summers in Ashes to Ashes, Richard Plantagenet in The Hollow Crown, and Father Flaherty in Broken. Dunbar also stars in the lead role of DI Ridley in the 2022 police procedural crime series Ridley, of which he was also associate producer.

Early life[edit]

Dunbar was born and brought up in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, in Northern Ireland, the eldest of seven siblings. He has two brothers, John and Roy, who live in Birmingham. Raised in a Catholic family, he was educated at St Joseph's College, Enniskillen, before attending the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.[2]


Dunbar has appeared in such notable films as My Left Foot, The Crying Game and The General. He has also had leading roles in the films Triggermen, Shooters, How Harry Became A Tree (with Colm Meaney), Richard III and Widows' Peak.

On television he starred in the first episode of Cracker, playing an innocent murder suspect with amnesia, and also the last episode of A Touch of Frost. He has been in many British productions, including Tough Love, Inspector Morse, Kidnapped, Murphy's Law, Murder in Mind, Ashes to Ashes and the 2005 re-staging of The Quatermass Experiment.

Dunbar's theatre credits include The Shaughraun and Exiles at Dublin's Abbey Theatre; Real Dreams and The Danton Affair at the Royal Shakespeare Company; King Lear, Pope's Wedding, Saved and Up to the Sun And Down to the Centre at Royal Court Theatre and Conversations on a Homecoming at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast; A Trinity of Two (as Oscar Wilde) at Dublin's Liberty Hall Theatre; and Boeing Boeing (London, 2007). He has directed a critically acclaimed production of Philadelphia Here I Come!.

In 2008 he starred in and co-directed Brendan at the Chelsea by Janet Behan, playing Brendan Behan. The play was the first to be staged in the Naughton Studio in the new Lyric Theatre in Belfast after it reopened in 2011, and was revived for a tour to Theatre Row in New York City in September 2013.

Dunbar played the role of Tullus Aufidius in the BBC radio production of Coriolanus. He also made a guest appearance in the BBC Radio 4 series Baldi, and appeared on stage as Vermeer in an adaptation of Girl with a Pearl Earring.

In 2008 Dunbar played the role of Philip Conolly in the critically acclaimed The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce. He starred alongside fellow Northern Irish actor Ciarán McMenamin in the remote rainforests of north-west Tasmania. He joined the cast of the police procedural television series Line of Duty in 2012, portraying the role of Superintendent Ted Hastings; he continued in this role for all subsequent series.

Dunbar is also a theatre director, and has staged productions for the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival.[3][4][5][6]

He played the mysterious character Martin Summers in the second series of Ashes to Ashes. In 2014 he played the title character in a BBC comedy drama, Walter.[7]

Dunbar also starred as Jim Hogan in the Virgin Media Television original drama Blood.

Other media[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

BAFTA Awards[edit]

BAFTA Awards
Year Nominated work Category Result
1993 Hear My Song Best Screenplay Nominated
2018 Line of Duty Best Supporting Actor Nominated

Irish Film & Television Academy Awards[edit]

IFTA Awards
Year Nominated work Category Result
2018 Line of Duty Actor in a Lead Role in Drama Nominated
2020 Nominated
2021 Nominated

National Television Awards[edit]

National Television Awards
Year Nominated work Category Result
2021 Line of Duty Drama Performance Nominated

TV Choice Awards[edit]

TV Choice Awards
Year Nominated work Category Result
2019 Line of Duty Best Actor Won
2021 Nominated

GQ Men of the Year Awards[edit]

GQ Men of the Year Awards
Year Nominated work Category Result
2021 Line of Duty Television Actor Won

Personal life[edit]

Dunbar has a daughter and stepson from his 1986 marriage to Australian actress Anna Nygh. He lives in Crouch End, North London. He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Ulster in June 2009 in recognition of his services to acting.[13][14]

Dunbar believes Sinn Fein will deliver a united Ireland in the future, saying "I expect Ireland to be unified and at peace with herself. Irish unification and freedom after hundreds of years is in our DNA, it is in effect a big part of who we have become to ourselves and the world".[15]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Sky Bandits Mechanic
1988 A World Apart Le Roux
The Dawning Capt. Rankin
1989 Unusual Ground Floor Conversion Alan Simpson Short film
My Left Foot Peter
Dealers Lennon Mayhew
1991 Hear My Song Micky O'Neill
1992 The Playboys Mick
The Crying Game Maguire
1994 Widows' Peak Godfrey Doyle-Counihan
1995 Innocent Lies Alan Cross
The Near Room Charlie Colquhoun
Richard III James Tyrell
1998 The General Noel Curley
1999 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace Senator Bail Antilles Deleted scene
2000 Last Orders Short film
Wild About Harry J.J. McMahon
The Wedding Tackle Mr Mac
2001 How Harry Became a Tree George
2002 Triggermen Andy Jarrett
Shooters Max Bell
2003 The Measure of My Days Priest Short film
2004 Mickybo and Me Mickybo's Da
2005 Against Nature The Tramp Short film
2006 Eye of the Dolphin Hawk
2008 The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce Philip Conolly
2009 Act of God Frank O'Connor
2011 Hideaways Dr Russell
Mother's Milk Seamus Dorke
2012 Good Vibrations Andy
2016 The Secret Scripture Dr Hart
2017 The Snowman Frederick Aasen
2022 Emily Patrick Brontë


Year Title Role Notes
1980 The Long March Colm TV movie
1984 Play for Today Peter Douglas Episode: "The Cry"
After You've Gone Chris TV movie
The Hidden Curriculum Boyd
1985 The Price Willy 4 episodes
1988 The Fear Con
The Four Minute Mile Norris McWhirter TV movie
Screen Two Robbie MacIntyre Episode: "Reasonable Force"
1990 John Episode: "Drowning in the Shallow End"
Theatre Night Lenny Episode: "Pentecost"
Debut on Two John/Lucien Episodes: "The Wake" and "A Box of Swan"
Centrepoint Brown 2 episodes
ScreenPlay Andy Episode: "The Englishman's Wife"
1991 Children of the North Martin Deeley 3 episodes
1992 ScreenPlay DS Billy McCourbrey Episode: "Force of Duty"
Inspector Morse John Marriat Episode: "Dead on Time"
1993 A Statement of Affairs Adrian 3 episodes
Cracker Kelly Episodes: "The Mad Woman in the Attic", Parts 1 & 2
A Woman's Guide to Adultery Michael 3 episodes
1994 The Blue Boy Joe Bonnar TV movie
Pleasure Gustave Coudray
1995 Cruel Train Jack Dando
1997 Melissa Graeme Hepburn 5 episodes
1998 The Jump Alan Cox 4 episodes
The Officer from France Wolfe Tone TV movie
1999 Relative Strangers Michael Docherty 2 episodes
2000 Tough Love DCI Mike Love
2003 Murphy's Law Mickey Munday Episode: "Manic Munday"
Murder in Mind Tom Robbins Episode: "Justice"
Suspicion Mark Finnegan 2 episodes
2005 Kidnapped Alexander Balfour/Ebenezer Balfour TV movie
The Quatermass Experiment Detective Lomax
Child of Mine Alfie Palmer
2007 The Whistleblowers Chris Clayton Episode: "Starters"
2008 Whistleblower Florence Wycherley 2 episodes
2009 Ashes to Ashes Martin Summers 8 episodes
2010 A Touch of Frost Gerry Berland Episodes: "If Dogs Run Free", Parts 1 & 2
Mo David Trimble TV movie
2011 Silk Joe Gillespie QC Episode: "Three Sheets to the Wind"
Death in Paradise Aidan Miles Episodes: "Music of Murder" and "Amongst Us"
2011–13 World's Most Dangerous Roads Narrator 9 episodes
2012 Scott & Bailey Det. Supt. Rick Wallis Episode: "Pipe Dreams"
Silent Witness Sean Delaney Episodes: "Fear", Parts 1 & 2
The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby Ralph Nickleby 5 episodes
2012–21 Line of Duty Supt. Ted Hastings Six series; 36 episodes
2013 Jo Olivier Cattan Episode: "Place Vendôme"
2014 Walter DI Walter Gambon TV movie
A Touch of Cloth Damien Vull Episodes: "Too Cloth for Comfort", Parts 1 & 2
2016 The Hollow Crown Plantagenet Episodes: "Henry VI", Parts 1 & 2
2017 Broken Father Peter Flaherty 6 episodes
2018-2020 Blood Jim Hogan
2019 Red Nose Bodyguard Policeman/Supt. Ted Hastings Red Nose Day 2019 special
2021 The Attendant The Attendant Short film
Adrian Dunbar's Coastal Ireland Himself/presenter Two-part series
Inside No. 9 Himself Series 6, episode 4: "Hurry Up and Wait"
2022-present Ridley Alex Ridley ITV series[16]
Adrian Dunbar: My Ireland Himself/presenter Two-part series
2023 DNA Journey Himself With Neil Morrisey[17]


  1. ^ Maslin, Janet (19 January 1992). "Hear My Song (1991) Review/Film; Irish Tenor Is Focus Of Intrigue and Blarney". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Eye of the Dolphin Star Biographies – Adrian Dunbar". 9 July 2007. Archived from the original on 14 June 2021.
  3. ^ Masters, Time (15 April 2015). "Beckett festival to feature play in the dark". BBC News.
  4. ^ Slater, Sasha. "Going to the Opera". Harper's Bazaar.
  5. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa. "Sophie Hunter: The opera director who has to dodge paparazzie". Sophie Hunter Central.
  6. ^ Kennedy, Maev (15 April 2015). "Happy Days festival's Beckett treats to include a German Godot". The Guardian.
  7. ^ "Programmes". BBC. Archived from the original on 5 August 2014.
  8. ^ Adrian Dunbar as Bail Antilles- Deleted Scene- STAR WARS: EP I: PHANTOM MENACE- Alderaan in Senate., archived from the original on 21 December 2021, retrieved 20 July 2021
  9. ^ Guardian Staff (14 August 2000). "Adrian Dunbar linked to 'strange' Star Wars". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  10. ^ Adie Dunbar and the Jonahs Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "The Curragh of Kildare". BBC Music. Archived from the original on 23 September 2018.
  12. ^ Colfer, Eoin (2001). Artemis Fowl. Puffin Audiobooks. ISBN 0-14-180286-3.
  13. ^ "Honorary Degree for Leading Ulster Actor Dunbar". 30 June 2009. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  14. ^ Murphy, Eoin (15 February 2020). "Line of Duty star says Sinn Fein will be able to deliver 32-county republic". Irish Mirror. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  15. ^ Young, David (10 May 2021). "Adrian Dunbar and top Orangeman Mervyn Gibson split over Ireland in 2121". Belfast Telegraph.
  16. ^ "Adrian Dunbar detective series Ridley starts filming in Lancashire". ITV. 11 January 2022. Retrieved 26 August 2022.
  17. ^ "DNA Journey". 2 February 2023. Retrieved 8 March 2023.

External links[edit]