John Simm on his new detective crime drama Grace and keeping calm in Brighton

Virgin Radio

11 Mar 2021, 11:25

Life On Mars star John Simm joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk about donning his detective hat in ITV’s new feature-length drama Grace. 

Based on Peter James' best-selling novels about Brighton detective Roy Grace he said: “To be offered the lead as a detective that's tried and tested - he's a literary sensation with 30 million books sold so there's a fan base there - to be offered that kind of gig at my age is wonderful.

“We’ve got Russell Lewis who writes Endeavour and Morse so he's a brilliant, brilliant writer and we’ve got great source material from Peter James and his novels."

What kicks things off? He expained: “It’s a stag night that goes wrong and when you when you first meet Roy Grace he's been demoted to cold cases, because he's been hauled over the coals for something he did in the job before (he went to see a medium and a reporter blabbed about it) and so he's been hauled over the coals as he's been pushing papers.

"So when we meet him, his friend comes in and asks for his help on this missing person's case and off he goes. So he’s just helping out in the beginning, but also he's got this thing - his wife went missing six years earlier and it's never been solved.

"He's never been able to find out what happened so he's got that hanging over him, but he's a decent guy, he's not some maverick cop. He's calm, he's methodical, he's a great character, there’s a lot going on there.”

On reading the novels by Peter James, he said: “I can’t put them down, I’m on book ten. They’re real page turners, so it's great to be inside his head in those books because I wasn't able to do loads of research and go out with the police so the book has been a brilliant source of material for me."

On filming and moving to Brighton to live, he said: “We’d been thinking about it for a while so this was quite serendipitous when this came up, but then unfortunately we'd finished filming by the time we moved in lockdown, so I didn't get to work from home.

“It's great, it's just lovely to have fresh air after living for so long in London. It makes you feel calm when I look at the ocean which I do every day now. There's something about it, breathing in and out.

"There's something about it that makes me feel calm. I remember driving back to London while we were filming and my shoulders would go up and you don't really notice it - and then calm when I came back. There's something about the ocean that just cools your boots, man."