Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

TV: Crime drama DI Ray puts accent on finding new talent

© SYSTEMDI Ray.
DI Ray.

When she was filming Bend It Like Beckham, Parminder Nagra had to make sure she was in decent shape to keep up with the demands of playing a footballer.

To her credit the 46-year-old has kept herself in shape since the hit 2002 movie.

But some scenes in her new series, DI Ray, were so strenuous she had to call for a substitute.

“I remember running through Grand Central Station and, wow, my thighs… I’m in decent shape but it was knackering!” she laughs. “Gone are the days when I used to insist on doing my own stunts. Now, I look for the stuntwoman and thank her for making me look good.”

ITV’s new police procedural DI Ray has all the hallmarks of a great crime drama.

Penned by actor-turned-writer Maya Sondhi and produced by Line Of Duty’s Jed Mercurio and Black Mirror’s Madonna Baptiste, it lifts the curtain on Birmingham’s murky criminal underworld – as well as serving up a healthy dose of murder and mystery.

“It’s starting to happen more but, having been in the business for so long, I feel like I’ve been saying the same thing for a long time,” notes Nagra, who was born in Leicester to Indian Punjabi parents.

“I can see the change with the likes of (Netflix drama) Bridgerton, but in DI Ray, this is my generation of women, we’re in Birmingham, and it’s so relatable.”

Further to simply being set and filmed there, DI Ray also puts Birmingham in the spotlight through the talent involved.

“I wanted breakthrough talent to be in it. We’ve got brand new Brummie actors who are so good and I’m so excited to see what they do after this and see them fly,” beams Sondhi.

Nagra says it was “amazing” playing a character from the Midlands because “I didn’t have to worry about how I sounded – I could literally just lean into my Leicester accent.

“I don’t think my accent is ever on TV, other than (Match Of The Day presenter) Gary Lineker!” she adds. “It was very liberating because I could just get on with the character rather than worrying about the voice.”

With Jed Mercurio at the helm there will, of course, be plenty of dark, gritty, white-knuckle moments in DI Ray. Sondhi worked closely with him to develop the concept for the series.

She wanted to write from her own perspective about her heritage and identity and Mercurio helped her find a format that would work for a mainstream audience.

“We wanted it to have mass appeal and that’s why it became a crime drama – so that Maya could tell her story,” Mercurio adds.


DI Ray, ITV, tomorrow, 9pm