DCI Banks/Ballykissangel's Stephen Tompkinson

Tea Time Tidbit for the week of September 17, 2018

On Thursday, September 20th, DCI Banks, starring Stephen Tompkinson as Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, returns to MPT.

Tea Time Tidbit

Stephen Tompkinson as Father Peter
Clifford in Ballykissangel

Before getting his own series, Tompkinson appeared in several other crime dramas, including New Tricks, Dalziel and Pascoe and Prime Suspect. He’s best known to Afternoon Tea viewers, though, as Father Clifford in the long running series, Ballykissangel.

Tompkinson wasn’t the BBC’s first choice for the priest as back in 1996, when the series first aired, Tompkinson was pretty much unknown. The producer of the first series, Tony Garnett, felt from the get go, though, that Tompkinson was ideal for the show and stuck to his guns in refusing to cast a more well known face. He rightly predicted that if the series was a success, Tompkinson would be a star within weeks.

Tea Time Tidbit

Tompkinson with Ballykissangel cast members

Ballykissangel was a huge hit from its very first episode and Avoca, where the series was filmed, became a pilgrimage for fans as far away as Australia. As well as finding stardom, Tompkinson also found love while working on Ballykissangel, in the form of his young co-star, Dervla Kirwan, who played bar tender Assumpta Fitzgerald. The couple were engaged for two years, but eventually split up.

This past summer Tompkinson swapped crime for comedy when he appeared in a live comedy show fundraiser for the north of England’s South Tyneside Hospital. Earlier this year, the Stockton-born actor also appeared alongside fellow TV Detectives, Lewis (Kevin Whately) and Vera (Brenda Blethyn), in a fundraiser for Sunday for Sammy. The biennial charity event, which takes place in Newcastle, is held in aid of the Sammy Johnson Memorial Fund, which benefits young performers and was established following the death of the young actor from the North East of England who died suddenly in 1998.

Tompkinson has spent a lot of time this past year on stage, owing to him appearing in a touring production of Art, a play he first performed in 18 years ago when at the age of 34, he made his West End debut. Tompkinson plays the same role this time round and is joined in the three person play by Dennis Lawson who plays Steve McAndrew in New Tricks and Nigel Havers, who we last saw in Downton Abbey as Lady Rosamund Painswick’s fortune hunting suitor, Lord Hepworth.

DCI Banks airs Thursday, September 20th at 8pm.

To contact Heather:
E-mail: heather@mpt.org
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117

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Afternoon Tea is Maryland Public Television's weekday presentation of British programs.
Our host and Tea Lady is Heather Sanderson.
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