Warning! This article contains major spoilers about the first episode of Vigil.
The Line Of Duty actor was one of the show’s big signings, portraying sailor Craig Burke, but there was a surprise in store for viewers of Sunday night’s first episode when Burke was found dead in mysterious circumstances.
The investigation into his death – led by Suranne Jones’ DCI Amy Silva – then took another turn, when it was revealed in a cliffhanger that Burke was actually a Navy whistleblower and had been working with a peace group campaigning against the use of trident missiles.
Martin, who is best known for playing DS Steve Arnott in Line Of Duty, has now revealed he was approached about the ‘red herring’ part as he prepared to shoot the sixth series of the hit cop show.
He recalled: “I was having dinner with Simon Heath, who’s the executive producer on that and Vigil. Out of the blue he mentioned that World Productions and the BBC had this wonderful ‘red herring part’ coming up on a new series that everyone was really excited about, Vigil, and he said to me ,‘Do you want to do it?’
“When Simon told me the cast already on board and the idea behind Vigil, it all really appealed and I think I said yes there and then. There were six or seven days before I was due to start work on Line of Duty when Vigil was also filming, so I spent them up in Glasgow on the HMS Vigil set.”
Martin said he did not tell “a single soul” about the shock twist that saw his character killed off.
“You just can’t give these things away – nobody wants a spoiler, and I wouldn’t want to kill the surprise for anybody,” he said. “Even my family and people close to me who knew I wasn’t away filming Vigil for very long, I just told them I had a ‘limited’ role.
“Alongside Vigil’s cast and premise, this was another element that attracted me to the role of Burke – I found it intriguing to be the surprise death for once. I was chuffed to be asked. What I found especially intriguing was that Burke dies and – just when you think you’ve seen the last of him – it turns out that, no, he’s still got more to give and more to say and he’s made it so he hasn’t gone down without a fight.
“When he appears back at the end of episode one on the recording, it’s a real wow moment I think.”
Martin also admitted that he actually doesn’t know the truth about Burke’s death and will be watching for answers alongside viewers.
He added: “It’s great to have catch-up, but I do think that ‘event telly’ is still a thing, so I’m excited to watch it live each week and find out who or what killed Burke at the same time as everyone else does.”
Vigil continues on Monday at 9pm on BBC One.
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