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Martin Compston

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Martin Compston
Compston in 2019
Born (1984-05-08) 8 May 1984 (age 40)
Greenock, Inverclyde, Scotland
Occupation(s)Actor, former professional footballer
Years active2002–present
Known forLine of Duty
Tianna Chanel Flynn
(m. 2016)
Children1[citation needed]
Association football career
Position(s) Defender
Youth career
Greenock Morton
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2002 Greenock Morton 2 (0)
Greenock Juniors
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Martin Compston (born 8 May 1984) is a Scottish actor and former professional footballer. He played Anti-Corruption Unit Detective Inspector Steve Arnott in the BBC drama Line of Duty, Liam in Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen, Paul Ferris in The Wee Man, Ewan Brodie in Monarch of the Glen[1] and Dan Docherty in The Nest.

Early life and football career


Born to a Catholic family, Compston, the younger of two sons,[2] was brought up in Greenock, Scotland, and attended St Columba's High School in neighbouring Gourock.[3]

A promising footballer, he was a youth player with Aberdeen as a teenager,[4] and after leaving school signed for his local professional club Greenock Morton.[5] Compston made two first-team appearances in the 2001–02 season, in which the team was relegated to the Third Division. In both matches he appeared as a substitute and Morton lost 4–0, to Alloa Athletic and Queen of the South.[6] After leaving Morton, he briefly played in junior football for Greenock Juniors.[7]

Acting career


Having never acted before, Compston successfully auditioned for the lead role in Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen, which was being filmed locally.[1] The film's success at the Cannes Film Festival gave him instant celebrity status in Scotland. Both he and his co-star William Ruane were nominated for Most Promising Newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards, with Compston winning the category.[8]

He had a regular role in the BBC TV serial Monarch of the Glen. He then appeared in three films: A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (Jury Prize and Best Ensemble Cast at the Sundance Festival) with Robert Downey, Jr.; Red Road (Jury Prize at Cannes), shot in Scotland with Kate Dickie and Tony Curran, for which he was nominated as Best Supporting Actor at the Scottish BAFTAs; and True North with Peter Mullan and Gary Lewis, for which he was nominated as Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards.

Compston starred in the 2010 film Soulboy, alongside Craig Parkinson, playing the role of Joe McCain.[1] He also made a cameo appearance in a low-budget web series, Night is Day.

Compston appeared in The View's music video for "Grace" and "How Long".[9]

In 2012, Compston starred in the lead role of Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott, a detective on an anti-corruption squad, in the BBC police drama Line of Duty, acting alongside Craig Parkinson once more. In the same year, he also starred in the violent thriller Piggy.[10] Going back to his Scottish roots, he then appeared in the lead role in The Wee Man, directed by Ray Burdis, a film depicting the life of the Glasgow gangster Paul Ferris.[11] It was released in the UK in January 2013.

In April 2013, Compston starred in the ITV miniseries The Ice Cream Girls.[12] He appeared as Roy James in The Great Train Robbery.[13]

In 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021, Compston reprised his lead role of Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott in five more series of police drama Line of Duty, which moved from BBC Two to BBC One at the start of its fourth series.[14][15]

In 2016, he starred in the three-part Scottish television series In Plain Sight as serial murderer Peter Manuel.[16] In 2020, he starred alongside Sophie Rundle in the television series The Nest.[17]

In 2021, Compston was cast to star as Fulmer Hamilton in the Amazon Prime Video thriller The Rig,[18] which was released in January 2023.[19]

In March 2022, Compston starred in Our House.[20][21][22] The drama series is based on the novel Our House by Louise Candlish.[23]

Personal life


Compston married American actress Tianna Chanel Flynn in 2016.[24]

In June 2022, Compston was forced to deny allegations of singing sectarian lyrics, after videos surfaced on social media of him on stage during a Celtic supporter function in Las Vegas.[25]

Compston is a supporter of Scottish independence and the Scottish National Party.[26]




Year Film Role Notes
2002 Sweet Sixteen Liam
2004 Niceland (Population. 1.000.002) Jed
2005 Tickets Jamesy
Wild Country Lee
2006 A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints Mike O'Shea
Red Road Stevie
True North Sean
2008 Doomsday Joshua
Freakdog Sean
The Prayer Stevie Short
2009 The Damned United John O'Hare
The Disappearance of Alice Creed Danny
Spunkbubble Togs Short
2010 Pimp Zeb
Soulboy Joe McCain
Donkeys Stevie Blantyre
Village on the Roof Allen Short
Paris/Sexy Seamus Short
2011 Ghosted Paul
7 Lives Rory
Four Lover
How to Stop Being a Loser Adams
Hit and Run Daz Short
2012 When the Lights Went Out Mr. Price
Sister Mike
Strippers vs Werewolves Scott
Piggy Joe
2013 The Wee Man Paul Ferris
Filth Gorman
2015 The Legend of Barney Thomson Chris Porter
Scottish Mussel Ritchie
2017 The Hunter's Prayer Metzger
2018 Mary Queen of Scots Lord Bothwell
2019 The Aftermath Burnham


Year Title Role Notes
2003 The Royal Jeffrey Carpenter Episode: "Snakes and Ladders"
Rockface Jason Farinelli 2 episodes
2003–2005 Monarch of the Glen Ewan Brodie Series regular
2004 Casualty Matty Howell Episode: "Lock Down"
2007 Night Is Day Head Gangster Episode: "Sacrifices"
2009 Eadar-Chluich Episode: "Bha Mi'n Raoir san Taigh-Osta"
2010 Five Daughters Jon 1 episode
2012–2021 Line of Duty DS Steve Arnott Series regular
2013 The Ice Cream Girls Marcus Hansley Mini-series
Agatha Christie's Marple Alfred Pollock Episode: "Greenshaw's Folly"
The Great Train Robbery Roy James Mini-series
2014 Silent Witness DS Jason Ross Episode: "In a Lonely Place"
Masterpiece Mystery Alfred Pollock Episode: "Agatha Christie's Miss Marple VII: Greenshaw's Folly"
Ripper Street Edwin Havelock Episode: "Live Free, Live True"
2016 Death in Paradise Dexter Allen Episode: "Dishing Up Murder"
In Plain Sight Peter Manuel Mini-series
2017 Victoria Dr. Traill Episode: "Faith, Hope & Charity"
2018 Urban Myths Midge Ure Episode: "Backstage at Live Aid"
2019 Still Game Phone Shop Assistant Episode: "Local Hero"
2019–present Traces Daniel MacAfee Series regular
2020 The Nest Dan Docherty Mini-series
2021 Vigil CPO Craig Burke Series 1: Series regular
2022 Our House Bram Lawson
Martin Compston's Scottish Fling Himself Travel mini-series[27]
Mayflies Jimmy Two-part drama[28]
2023–present The Rig Fulmer Hamilton
2024 Martin Compston's Norwegian Fling Himself Travel mini-series[29]
TBA Fear Martyn In production[30]


  1. ^ a b c Clarke, Cath (26 August 2010). "How Martin Compston Shimmied from Football to Films". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Martin Compston: 'Who would play me in the film of my life? Vicky McClure'". the Guardian. 5 March 2022. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  3. ^ "Martin Compston: Plucked to stardom from a school corridor". BBC News. 12 March 2022. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  4. ^ "How Line of Duty star Martin Compston went from Dons starlet to DS Arnott". Evening Express. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  5. ^ Pierce, Nev (26 September 2002). "Martin Compston: Sweet Sixteen". BBC. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  6. ^ "MARTIN COMPSTON". Neil Brown. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  7. ^ Hossack, Brian (26 September 2017). "Greenock actor Martin Compston backs Ravenscraig club". Greenock Telegraph. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  8. ^ "Profile and awards: Sweet Sixteen (2002)". BIFA. 11 October 2002. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  9. ^ English, Paul (23 March 2016). "Line of Duty Star Martin Compston: Glass Ceiling for Actors Who Aren't Posh Enough is Holding Back Talent". Daily Record. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  10. ^ Millar, John (15 April 2012). "Martin Compston Opens Heart about Love Split and Death of Beloved Gran". Daily Record. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  11. ^ Black, Claire (13 January 2013). "Interview: Martin Compston Talks about His New Film The Wee Man". The Scotsman. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  12. ^ Rampton, James (15 April 2013). "Actor Martin Compston Makes Waves as Leading Man". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 12 May 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  13. ^ Wednesday, Monkey (6 March 2013). "Martin Compston to Play Great Train Robber in BBC1 Drama". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  14. ^ Hadlow, Janice (25 July 2012). "Media Centre – Line of Duty to Return for Second Series". BBC. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  15. ^ Barker, Adam (4 September 2014). "Media Centre – Line of Duty to Return for Further Two Series". BBC.
  16. ^ Bley Griffiths, Eleanor (21 December 2016). "How Historically accurate is In Plain Sight? The True Story of Serial Killer Peter Manuel Played by Martin Compston". Radio Times. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  17. ^ Ferguson, Brian (13 March 2020). "The Nest: Martin Compston, Sophie Rundle, Mirren Mack and Shirley Henderson on Scotland's new TV thriller". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  18. ^ "'Schitt's Creek' Star Emily Hampshire Joins Amazon UK Series 'The Rig'; Scotland Shoot To Begin This Month". Deadline. 17 March 2021. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  19. ^ Buchan, Sophie (6 January 2023). "The Rig fans are all saying the same thing after Martin Compston drama launches". GlasgowLive. Retrieved 9 January 2023.
  20. ^ "TV tonight: Martin Compston stars in psychological drama Our House". The Guardian. 7 March 2022. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  21. ^ Adejobi, Alicia (7 March 2022). "Our House viewers fume as ITV goes goes off-air during opening episode: 'Trying to work out what I've missed'". Metro. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  22. ^ "Martin Compston on Line of Duty, accents and his new show Our House". The Times. 7 March 2022. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  23. ^ Sansome, Jessica (7 March 2022). "Our House on ITV: What it's about, cast and where you've seen them before". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  24. ^ Mullen, Stacey (20 June 2016). "Line of I Do: Actor Martin Compston marries actress Tianna Chanel Flynn". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  25. ^ "Line of Duty star Martin Compston denies singing IRA lyrics in Celtic FC viral video row". ITV. London. 16 June 2022. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  26. ^ "Line of Duty's Martin Compston urges Scots to vote for Nicola Sturgeon". The Independent. 2 May 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  27. ^ "Martin Compston's Scottish Fling". bbc.co.uk/mediacentre. 8 September 2022. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  28. ^ "Mayflies - Meet the cast and creatives behind the drama that 'discovers the joy and the costs of love'". bbc.co.uk/mediacentre. 19 December 2022. Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  29. ^ "Martin Compston's Norwegian Fling coming to BBC TV and BBC iPlayer in 2024". bbc.co.uk/mediacentre. 21 December 2023. Retrieved 21 December 2023.
  30. ^ "Film crews to descend on Glasgow for new TV thriller". Herald Scotland. 9 March 2024. Retrieved 14 March 2024.