The Real Ted Hastings – corruption scandals inspiring Line of Duty
Millions of us were gripped by the BBC’s Line of Duty.
As the sixth series came to a somewhat controversial climax with the revelation that detective Ian Buckells was the embedded criminal known as “H”, author Stephen King was tweeting about it, the late Queen was rumoured to be a fan, and social media was crammed with speculation.
Brilliant scripts from creator Jed Mercurio and a wonderful cast of top actors made the series a must-watch event. What is less well known is that while much of action is well-crafted fiction, the corruption depicted is all based on fact.
Right back in series one, the stories were mirroring real events. When Steve Arnott is involved in an armed raid that ends up inadvertently killing an innocent man, viewers would not have realised this storyline was inspired by a real tragedy.
This was the shooting in 2005 of Jean Charles De Menezes after police mistook him for a terrorist. From that point forward, Line of Duty carried an undercurrent of true events, from issues such as “laddering” and bureaucracy, to scandalous real cases.
Met Commissioner Sir Robert Mark
These range from the botched investigations into the murders of private investigator Daniel Morgan and student Stephen Lawrence, to the Jimmy Savile abuses scandal and many others.
These underlying real cases are the theme of my new book, The Real Ted Hastings, published on 11 May 2023. The main focus is on the man most often cited as the real Ted Hastings, namely former Met Commissioner Sir Robert Mark.
It details how Hastings can be seen to reflect the anti-corruption spirit of Mark. It also delves into the numerous police scandals and corruption since the 1960s that infuse the high-octane plots of Line of Duty.
For anyone who was gripped by the most-viewed British TV drama of the 21st century, I hope the book will open a hidden side to the drama.
Truth is stranger and perhaps more powerful than fiction, and – mother of God! – there is plenty of it in Line of Duty.
The Real Ted Hastings, published by Mardle Books, is available from: