Martin Compston

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Martin Compston
Born (1984-05-08) 8 May 1984 (age 32)
Greenock, Inverclyde, Scotland
Occupation Actor, former professional footballer
Years active 2002–present
Spouse(s) Tianna Chanel Flynn (m. 2016)

Martin Compston (born 8 May 1984) is a Scottish actor and former professional footballer. He is perhaps most well-known for his lead role as Anti-Corruption Unit Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott in hit BBC Two crime drama Line of Duty. His other notable roles include Liam in Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen and Ewan Brodie in Monarch of the Glen.[1]

Early life[edit]

Compston was born and brought up in Greenock, Inverclyde, and attended St. Columba's High School in neighbouring Gourock. A youth footballer, after leaving school he signed for local professional team Greenock Morton.[2] He has an older brother, Barry.[3]

Personal life[edit]

On 19 June 2016, Compston married Tianna Chanel Flynn.


Compston made two appearances for Morton at the end of the 2001–2002 season, in which the 'Ton were relegated from the Scottish Football League First Division. In both matches he appeared as a substitute, and both times Morton lost 4–0, to Alloa Athletic and Queen of the South.

Having never acted before, he successfully auditioned for the lead role in Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen, which was being filmed locally. The film's success at the Cannes Film Festival gave him instant celebrity status in Scotland. His subsequent film career was comparatively low key as he wanted to "serve his apprenticeship" with a regular role in the BBC TV drama 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 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 appeared in the horror film The 4th Reich as Pte. Newman, and made a cameo appearance in small budget web series "Night Is Day".

Compston appeared in The View's music video for "Grace" and "How Long," as he is friends with the band.[4]

In 2012, Compston starred in the lead role of Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott, an Anti-Corruption Detective, in the award-winning BBC police drama Line of Duty, acting alongside Craig Parkinson once more.

In 2012 Compston also starred in the violent thriller Piggy.[5] 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 renowned Glasgow Gangster Paul Ferris.[6] It was released in the UK in January 2013.

In April 2013 Compston starred in the ITV mini-series The Ice Cream Girls.[7]

Compston appeared as Roy James in The Great Train Robbery.[8]

In 2014, Compston reprised his lead role of Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott in the second series of BBC Two police drama Line of Duty.[9]

In March 2016, Compston reprised his lead role once again in the third series of hit BBC Two police-crime drama Line of Duty as lead Anti-Corruption investigator Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott of AC Unit 12.

Compston will reprise his role as Det. Sgt. Steve Arnott for the fourth series of Line of Duty, after it was announced the series had been renewed for a fourth season.[10]

In 2016, he starred in the Scottish 3-part television drama series In Plain Sight as serial murderer Peter Manuel who was pursued to his conviction and ultimate execution by detective William Muncie.[11]


Year Film Role Notes
2002 Sweet Sixteen Liam
2003 Monarch of the Glen Ewan Brodie 20 episodes between 2003 and 2005
The Royal Jeffrey Carpenter One episode, "Snakes and Ladders"
2004 Niceland (Population. 1.000.002) Jed
Casualty Matty Howell One episode, "Lock Down"
2005 Tickets Jamesy
Wild Country Lee
2006 A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints Mike O'Shea
Red Road Stevie
2007 True North Seán
Night is Day Head Gangster One episode, "Sacrifices"
2008 Doomsday Joshua
Red Mist Sean Also known as "Freakdog"
2009 The Damned United John O'Hare
The Disappearance of Alice Creed Danny
2010 Pimp Zeb
Soulboy Joe McCain
2011 7lives Rory
Hit and Run Daz
Ghosted Paul
Four Lover
How to Stop Being a Loser Adam
2012 Strippers vs Werewolves Shaniqua
When the Lights Went Out Mr Price
Sister Mike
Line of Duty Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott Five episodes
Piggy Joe
2013 The Wee Man Paul Ferris
Greenshaw's Folly Alfred Pollock
The Ice Cream Girls Mr Halnsley
Filth Gorman
The Great Train Robbery Roy James
2014 Silent Witness Jason Ross
Line of Duty Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott Six episodes
2015 Hunter's Prayer Martin
Scottish Mussel Richie
2016 Death in Paradise Dexter Allen Episode 5.6
Line of Duty Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott Six episodes
2016 In Plain Sight Peter Manuel Three episodes


  1. ^ a b Clarke, Cath (26 August 2010). "How Martin Compston shimmied from football to films". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Pierce, Nev (26 September 2002). "Martin Compston: Sweet Sixteen". BBC. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  3. ^ MacLaren, Lorna (15 November 2002). "Life doesn't come any sweeter Martin Compston, the young star of Ken Loach's new movie, is the latest Scot to shine at the cinema". Herald Scotland. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Millar, John (15 April 2012). "Martin Compston opens heart about love split and death of beloved gran". Daily Record. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Black, Claire (13 January 2013). "Interview: Martin Compston talks about his new film The Wee Man". The Scotsman. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Rampton, James (15 April 2013). "Actor Martin Compston makes waves as leading man". The Scotsman. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Wednesday, Monkey (6 March 2013). "Martin Compston to play great train robber in BBC1 drama". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Hadlow, Janice (25 July 2012). "Media Centre – Line Of Duty to return for second series". BBC. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Barker, Adam (4 September 2014). "Media Centre – Line of Duty to return for further two series". BBC. 
  11. ^ 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. 

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