Irvine Welsh on ‘exhausting’ process of portraying Crime’s Ray Lennox

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Britbox crime starring Dougray Scott

Dougray Scott stars as Detective Inspector Ray Lennox in Irvine Welsh’s BritBox series Crime (Picture: BritBox)

Irvine Welsh and Dougray Scott have spoken about their gritty new BritBox drama Crime, which focuses on the exploits of Detective Inspector Ray Lennox.

The upcoming series, which is set to launch next month on November 18, is the Trainspotting author’s first move into the world of TV and is an adaptation of his own 2008 book of the same name.

Crime follows Lennox as he attempts to hunt down a child abductor, all while fighting with his own inner demons which are triggered by the disappearance of a young girl.

Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Dougray opened up about the strain of taking on the intense character, who first appeared in Irvine’s 1998 novel Filth. 

Dougray said about his preparation: ‘I think that there’s all the obvious stuff, like the research to do about serial killers, child killers, police work… all these documentaries, books and people you can talk to. 

‘But ultimately, it comes from you – it comes from me – with my life experience. Without going into my own experiences, I understand what he’s going through in this character’s skin. It’s a case of saying this is what it’s like for him, and this is where he now operates on a daily basis.’

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Dougray added: ‘It’s exhausting to play someone like that, but ultimately you have to. You can’t really sit back. You’ve got to be right in the top gear from the start. It’s about commitment, really. He’s so empathetic, Lennox. He just feels everything. He’s so f***ing raw. You just have to be prepared to go there.’

Author Irvine also spoke about his desire to show real human characters and their fragility in the series – which sees Lennox struggling to deal with the pressure of working on child abduction cases.

He said: ‘We wanted to make it a Ship of Fools, with all these f***ed up, damaged people trying to work out what life’s about. 

Irvine Welsh

Irvine spoke about his approach to the new series (Picture: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images)

‘We wanted it almost to be like American cop shows, because they tended to do that better. On The Wire for example, the cops were a bunch of interesting people that drank too much, had extra marital affairs, they f***ed up, they had mental breakdowns… and they actually showed the horror and the high pressure element of doing this almost impossible job.’

Irvine went on to say: ‘The psychological pressures that are on them doing that kind of job was really important. In Britain, there’s this stiff upper lip culture. The cops are seen as authority figures, and if you portray the cops as human beings, you can undermine police work. As the dramatist, you have to get to that essential truth.’

The first series arrives later this month, but can we expect more episodes in future? 

‘I would love to,’ Irvine said. ‘I’ve got material we can do. I’ve got a book coming out next year, and we could do that as season two. We’ve flagged up a lot of things about these characters that some people might want to see more of.’

Crime is available to watch on BritBox from November 18.

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