Trigger Point is a new drama produced by Line Of Duty's Jed Mercurio. Stars Vicky McClure and Adrian Lester tell Georgia Humphreys what's in store.

Tense does not even begin to describe the first episode of Trigger Point.

The new six-part ITV thriller stars Vicky McClure and Adrian Lester as Lana Washington and Joel Nutkins, who risk their lives on a daily basis as bomb disposal operatives, known as "Expos".

They are good friends, having served in the military together in Afghanistan.

Now they are part of the Metropolitan Police Bomb Disposal Squad, which we see dealing with a terrorist campaign threatening London at the height of summer.

HeraldScotland: Tom Stokes as Pete,Vicky McClure as Lana Washington, Adrian Lester as Joel Nutkins and Eric Shango as Danny

As they try to keep people safe, and work out who is behind the bombings, death is always just a heartbeat away for the Expos.

For Nottingham native McClure, best known for playing DI Kate Fleming in BBC hit Line Of Duty, part of the appeal of Trigger Point was that the subject matter is so far from her reality.

"If you saw somebody that you loved in the face of danger, you would run towards them, of course, but what they're expected to do is do that for people they've never even met," notes the star, 38.

"They don't know the situation, and they have such bravery."

"It's just so far from home, it's incomparable," she follows. "We've all been scared and frightened, and fear is something we all deal with on a daily basis in different forms, but what they're doing is highly skilled and terrifying."

The high-octane drama is written by Daniel Brierley, a screenwriting newcomer, but it is produced by HTM Television, which is co-owned by none other than Line Of Duty writer and creator Jed Mercurio.

While they both feature the police department, and the episodes are action-packed, there is no comparison in McClure's head between Trigger Point and Line Of Duty.

"I don't feel there's any part of Kate coming with me in that way.

"I've got my head in a little ponytail for the majority of the show and not a scrap of make-up on, so I don't look like Kate, I don't feel like Kate.

"I think the audience will get involved in a new world and very quickly be transported there."

Meanwhile Brummie star Lester, 53, suggests it is wonderful to be telling stories "about people that we know are there but that we don't really see".

HeraldScotland: Adrian Lester as Joel Nutkins and Vicky McClure as Lana Washington

Pictures:  HTM PRODUCTIONS FOR ITV

"In order for us to leave the house and go shopping and then come home again, there are thousands of people that we don't see, that are essential to do with our safety and awareness and providing care, and we never look at them," continues the actor, whose previous roles include BBC series Hustle and Life.

"I think we started to look at them during the pandemic, appreciate some of what people did, but this is another aspect.

"There are a lot of people doing a lot of jobs that are very dangerous, in order to keep us safe while we pick up our kids from school."

Having known each other for a long time, there is a wonderful energy between Lana and Nut, as Joel is affectionately called, that really comes across on screen, thanks to McClure and Lester.

"It's not a love interest thing, it's not hung on some sort of device like that," elaborates Lester.

"They're just mates, and they get on, and they're experts, and they have a love for each other that is a real camaraderie based on the experience of being in dangerous situations with each other over a number of years.

"It was actually the energy between them, and the banter and the friendship, that really came off the page for me, and it was a lot of fun making that work on set."

"Knowing that they were on tour together, I can only imagine that army mentality of being away from your loved ones and your family - having your friends there and creating a different kind of family is what gets them through it," follows McClure.

"And them having that past between them feeds into the show, feeds into our relationship, and there's a real respect, especially from Lana to Nut, because he is sort of senior to her."

There has never really been a TV show about Expos before, and the stars had a lot to learn about their characters' jobs.

They were shown examples of bombs and how they would be taken apart.

"It's like a new language that you start to take in," recalls McClure. "I was really into making sure I was understanding what I was saying, and we had a lot of complex things to deal with so we needed to know what we were doing."

"Our trainer was telling us you can tell the mentality of the bombmaker by the device and what the bomb is for," explains Lester.

"He says you have some devices that are made to hurt and maim people who are coming in to defuse it, and other devices that are simply there to do a task.

"He said it does focus you when you're dealing with a device where you know that the act of trying to defuse it is actually part of the system that's designed to make it set it off - it's been made to hurt you as the person who's going in to make it safe for everyone else.

"That mentality is something I've never thought of before."

As well as being physically demanding, was it also hard to switch off mentally after days on set for Trigger Point?

"It was the first job that I've ever done where I felt like a crew member because I was there every day, and it's heavily involved in Lana's world, and as much as there's the professional side of it, we do fall into her personal life as well," says McClure.

"So, she was on my mind a lot and it was a case of, 'Go home, learn more lines, go to sleep, wake up - eat, sleep, repeat'. I completely threw my everything into it.

"There is an emotional side to it, rightly so, that needed to be dealt with really sensitively, because we are trying to do the best we can to represent the Expos as authentically as we can."

Trigger Point starts on STV tonight at 9pm.