IF you are partial to a bit of John Hannah, then best clear your diary over the coming days because the actor is about to become a ubiquitous sight on our TV screens.

First up is The Victim, a gripping and twisty legal drama that begins tomorrow night and will run over four consecutive evenings on BBC1. Hannah plays DI Steven Grover, a seasoned police detective leading the criminal investigation into an attempted murder.

After that he is due to pop up in medical thriller, Trust Me, later this month. The second series features an entirely new cast from its debut offering with Hannah, alongside Alfred Enoch, Richard Rankin and Ashley Jensen, replacing Jodie Whittaker, Sharon Small and Emun Elliott.

When we speak, Hannah, 56, is making a flying visit to Glasgow with his teenage daughter to cheer her on in a swimming competition. Doing the proud dad thing? “Yeah,” he says, sounding genuinely chuffed by the prospect of an afternoon at Tollcross pool.

The East Kilbride-born star, who lives in London, spent a fair bit of time in Scotland last year while filming the two shows. The Victim follows a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, covering the events leading up to the legal proceedings and the investigation headed by Hannah’s DI Grover.

The four-part drama looks set to polarise viewers and provoke strong emotions while sparking heated debate about whether children who kill should – or even can – be rehabilitated and given new identities. It also shines a spotlight on the darker side of social media.

“I don’t know anything else that is going to make people come down on one side or the other,” says Hannah. “It is not just a couple of hours of entertainment. It will make people pick a side and potentially, after the first or second episode, possibly change their mind.”

Boardwalk Empire and Trainspotting star Kelly Macdonald plays Anna Dean, a nurse whose nine-year-old son Liam was murdered 15 years earlier by another boy then known as Eddie J Turner. She is accused of revealing Turner’s alleged new identity online and conspiring to have him murdered.

Quiet family man Craig Myers, played by upcoming Glaswegian actor James Harkness, is attacked and left for dead after a social media post claims that he is the notorious child murderer. Myers insists it is mistaken identity.

Hannah is tight-lipped on any spoilers, although he clearly enjoyed the challenge of playing DI Grover, not least putting his own spin on the character in an attempt to move away from the TV trope of an investigating police officer who soaks up raw emotion like a sponge.

“When television detectives are in the middle of a drama, they are emoting away, feeling all the pain and hardship of everything they do and see,” he says. “Whereas my experience is that everything they do and see can often make them inured to what they have to deal with on a daily basis.”

He was conscious of not having DI Grover take sides nor “make assumptions about who is more right or wrong”, but rather staunchly follow the letter of the law.

The Victim – which is set between Edinburgh and Port Glasgow – was filmed on location in the Scottish capital as well as Glasgow, Greenock, Gourock and Largs last summer. It was made by STV Productions for the BBC.

While Hannah alludes to there being “quite a few high-profile cases that have been ongoing in our lifetime”, he is careful to tread sensitively. “The BBC are keen for us to be aware that nothing has particularly inspired it other than the legal system and its ability to deal with social media and how we all respond to that,” he says.

Yet, it is impossible not to evoke echoes of several famous cases. A child killing another child sends shockwaves through society, as happened when toddler James Bulger was murdered by 10-year-olds Robert Thompson and Jon Venables in 1993.

Another landmark case that remains seared in the public memory is 11-year-old Mary Bell who, in 1968, strangled two young boys “solely for the pleasure and excitement of killing”.

There are mesmerising performances from all the lead cast in The Victim. What was it like for Hannah working alongside Macdonald and Harkness?

“It was quite intense,” he says. “There was a certain arms-length aspect about it, especially in terms of my character’s relationship with Kelly [as grieving mother Anna].

“I don’t mean being all method and not talking to each other or anything like that. But you know from experience when somebody has a deeply emotional thing to do, they are the ones who are there getting themselves in that hole.

“There is no point in me going up to talk to them about the football and this or that. You don’t get all chatty. You give somebody the space to do what they need to do.”

This isn’t Hannah’s first time playing a TV police officer. There have been past roles as Ian Rankin’s world-weary and pessimistic Inspector Rebus and as DS Frank Drinkall in the drama series Out Of The Blue. Not to forget comedy A Touch of Cloth as Hannah reminds me when we speak.

“We are very much in love with the detective genre in this country,” he says. “This doesn’t feel like it is [comparable], probably because I am older and it is a different character and story. It’s not like I have been playing the same character for however many years.

“Rebus was 10 years ago …” he says, before catching himself. “Actually, it was nearly 20 years ago. Was it 20 years? Oh my God.

“It was around the millennium because I remember we were in Edinburgh. Jesus, is that 20 years ago? I think the only cop I have done since then is Cloth.”

In Trust Me, which begins mid-April, Hannah takes on the role as clinical lead Doctor Archie Watson. Set in the neurological unit of a Glasgow hospital, Alfred Enoch – who starred in Harry Potter and How to Get Away with Murder – plays Corporal Jamie McCain, a survivor of an ambush attack.

Recovering from a spinal injury which has left him temporarily paralysed, McCain faces a new terrifying and unseen enemy as fellow patients on the ward die unexpectedly around him.

“It is an interesting thriller,” says Hannah. “There is a real style to this which I think is inspired a little bit by Hitchcock and Rear Window where they take that James Stewart character and put him flat on his back.

"They use his ears and the things he hears to start being suspicious about what is going on, which I think is a clever way of getting into a drama and into somebody’s head. I have always felt that sound is never quite used enough.

“So, it was exciting to be part of something where it is the sound, those whispers and the things you can hear without seeing, that might be chasing and stalking you.”

Until last year, it had been some time since Hannah, who shot to fame in Four Weddings and A Funeral, McCallum and Sliding Doors, had filmed anything north of the Border.

“It has been 10 years or so since I’ve worked in Scotland. I enjoyed it. I got a chance to work with new crews and some people I did know from the past. The chance to catch up with friends and family was lovely. And just to get back into Glasgow again which I love very much.”

It is only when Hannah and I do the maths that we realise it is, in fact, closer to 15 years. “Sea of Souls was the last thing I did up here,” he says. “My kids were very young at the time. I had taken some time out when they were born. My wife was working on it and I happened to be here and did a little bit on that as well. That would have been 2004 or 2005.”

Time gets away from us, doesn’t it? “It certainly does,” he says, half laughing, half groaning. “I’m sure I have worked since then but I just can’t remember on what.”

Well, there’s been the final instalment in the Mummy Trilogy, Spartacus, A Touch of Cloth and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D among others. Hannah is rarely idle (or “resting” in actor parlance). Most recently he’s been narrating BBC2’s Race Across The World which concludes this evening.

“I have loved that,” says Hannah. “Funnily enough I have had more feedback from friends with regards to that than anything else I have done in the last 20-odd years. People have been saying how much they enjoy it, that it’s a great show and asking me what happens next.

“I don’t know more than anyone else does. Literally, I go in [midweek] to record the episode for Sunday. I am enjoying the show – even though I have to listen to my own horrible voice.”

Did it inspire his travel bucket list? “When I was filming in Scotland last year, I went up and did a bit of the West Highland Way for the first time. I did a couple of days on my own over a weekend but I am going up again during the Easter holidays. I am dragging my son along for a few days.”

His son and daughter – twins who are now 15 – must be getting very grown-up. “Oh yes, and very grumpy about being dragged into the wilderness without internet,” laughs Hannah. “But I am doing it anyway. I don’t care.”

Hannah is a keen cyclist and rarely parted from his trusty steed. “I always take my bike with me when I go away to work,” he says. “I even brought my bike up here and was out cycling up round the Campsies and the Rest and Be Thankful.

“I initially had to do cycling as rehab when I had knee surgery and then got into it properly about 10 years ago when I went to New Zealand. I got a good bike when I was over there [filming Spartacus].

“I was the oldest guy in the cast and had different interests at the weekend from all the young folk. So, I would go out and explore on my bike. I got into it from that and now I take my bike everywhere.”

His bike is fairly well travelled too, then? “Well, the one that was well travelled – the bike I bought in New Zealand – got stolen last year and had to get replaced. It was quite emotional but I have a new one now. I suppose it is a bit like getting a new puppy when your dog dies.”

The youngest of three children, Hannah was born and grew up in East Kilbride. His late father John was a toolmaker and his late mother Susan worked at the nearby Schweppes factory.

Hannah did a four-year apprenticeship as an electrician before going on to study at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in Glasgow.

He was thinking about this only the other night while watching Nae Pasaran, the documentary about the Rolls-Royce factory in East Kilbride where, in the 1970s, workers refused to carry out repairs on Chilean Air Force jet engines in an act of solidarity against General Pinochet’s violent military coup.

As the film charted the events of 1978, it struck Hannah that many of his mates in East Kilbride would have started their apprenticeships at Rolls-Royce that year, around the same time that he began his own apprenticeship at the Scottish Electricity Board.

“Then I thought, ‘F*** me. I have been working for 41 years,’” says Hannah. “And that kind of frightened the s*** out of me. Because obviously you don’t feel old.

“But working for 41 years … although some people might doubt that acting is working. I certainly don’t do it constantly. It’s not like I’m up Monday to Friday, so I can’t complain. But as a number, it did freak me out.”

In 2015, Hannah bid an emotional farewell to the family home in East Kilbride. A year earlier his father had passed away and his mother moved into a care home. The actor admits he doesn’t get back to his hometown much these days but did pop in to visit his sister while filming last year.

“I still have a connection to the number 53,” he reflects. “That was the house number. It was the house I was born in. Not just that my mum and dad were living there when I was born – I was actually born in one of the bedrooms upstairs. But, you know, life moves on. I have my own teenage terrors to deal with.”

Hannah and his wife Joanna Roth, who he met and fell in love with while working at the National Theatre in London, have been married since 1996. He admits that modern parenting can have its challenges – not least in the age of the internet.

“I think as parents we are so concerned about how much life has changed. It’s that thing we never had [growing up]. But yeah, I can understand that if you could have had free access to an amusement arcade your whole life, you would never want to leave.

“I am going to sound an old person here but the world was much better [pre-internet]. Kids playing in the streets and having friends next door. It seems different now. And that is not just my experience of London. It seems like that is the modern world.”

We mull over how young people are being constantly bombarded with information, via the internet and social media, which must be tough and confusing at times. Is there a solution to that?

“I honestly don’t know,” he says. “I was talking last week to a couple of friends who have younger kids and they were asking, ‘How do you deal with it?’ and I honestly don’t know. We have tried everything: the carrot, the stick, the punishments, the rewards, the time clock …

“It is all sort of irrelevant, though, because at some point you have to hope they are sensible enough to come out of it, if it’s a phase, or learn to limit it.

“We partly brought it upon ourselves,” he continues. “We created this myth of ‘stranger danger’ when the numbers are much more suggestive of the fact it is your dodgy uncle or someone the family knows that is more predatory than strangers.

“But we created that myth and we don’t let the children out of our sight. We mollycoddle them and keep them indoors, then we wonder why they are in their bedrooms on the internet the whole time?

“It is a conundrum. My kids will be the first generation born with that internet access, so it is a learning curve constantly.”

The Victim begins on BBC1 tomorrow, 9pm, and continues on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Trust Me starts on BBC1, April 16, 9pm