The Responder: The sad real life story behind the BBC drama

27 January 2022, 11:29

The Responder is based on a true story
The Responder is based on a true story. Picture: BBC

Is The Responder based on a true story? Here's what we know about the BBC drama...

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Just in case there aren’t enough dramas on TV at the moment, BBC is currently airing their police series The Responder.

Shown over five episodes, the series was written by ex Merseyside Police police officer Tony Schumacher and is said to "hold a mirror up to the emotional extremes of life on the front line of British policing."

The series sees officer Chris Carson, played by Martin Freeman, tackling a series of night shifts in Liverpool, joined by his new rookie partner Rachel (Adelayo Adedayo).

Martin Freeman stars in The Responder
Martin Freeman stars in The Responder. Picture: BBC

They both soon discover they must depend on each other to survive the high pressure job and their dangerous surroundings.

But is The Responder a true story? Find out the inspiration behind the drama...

Is The Responder a true story?

The Responder is not a true story, but it is based on the real-life experiences of writer and former police officer Tony Schumacher.

Ahead of the series, Tony said: "In some way I feel that I am The Responder to a degree and that this is my story.

"I was a police responder who was out in the rain at one o'clock in the morning, two in the morning, three in the morning, chasing people up and down alleyways and running over rats."

Adelayo Adedayo stars in The Responder
Adelayo Adedayo stars in The Responder. Picture: BBC

Just like the character Chris, Tony admitted that working as a responder took its toll on his mental health and he eventually quit the force.

"I quit the police because, and there's no getting away from it, I was cracking up in the police force," he said.

"And I had this overwhelming urge to write. I was really struggling mentally and I needed to get away and find myself but I also needed to buy dog food during that period so I became a taxi driver. It was during that time that I learnt to become a writer.

"I wrote three books, sold them to Harper Collins and they did okay. That allowed me to step out of the cab, with a slight detour via a garbage dump, to become a full-time writer on the back of the books.”