In the new five-part BBC One drama The Responder, he plays Chris Carson, a police officer on the edge.

His job is to respond to emergency calls.

Freeman – who must have fallen on it like a hungry dog – does every bit of it justice.

He gets a call from his slippery friend Carl ( Ian Hart, of course – thank you, God and casting ).

Town Centre Casey ( Emily Fairn ) – a local "baghead", or drug addict – has gone missing.

He even tells his mother ( Rita Tushingham ) when he visits her in her care home.

michael portillo was polishing his one-liners as he explored the seaside around edinburgh on the first part of great coastal railway journeys ( bbc2 ) rating : raymond chandler started it.

Michael Portillo was polishing his one liners and was on particularly colourful form last night

That line is so good, Boris Johnson borrowed it to describe his mistress Jennifer Arcuri.

"The Responder follows Chris ( Martin Freeman ), a crisis-stricken, morally compromised, unconventional urgent response officer tackling a series of night shifts on the beat in Liverpool," is how the BBC described the show.

Riding in the back of PC Carson's patrol car, he was slack-jawed with astonishment to learn that the policeman was not only bringing up a daughter but living with the child's actual mother as well.

Two hours later, the money was gone.

The Responder: Emily Fairn plays Casey in the series (Image: BBC)

"there's just no way.

' I'd better check my pension,' quipped Michael.

And as he picked his way between seabirds on Bass Rock, home to a colony of 150,000 gannets, he muttered,' I don't want to think about Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. '

The former Tory golden boy was on especially colourful form, sporting a magnificent knee-length orange mac and matching woolly hat.

The Responder: Martin Freeman's character is a troubled soul (Image: BBC)

This gory deed left its mark on Michael's Scottish mother, he revealed.

So much for sympathy.

The Responder is making its BBC debut tonight ( January 24 ) and the show was written by a former police officer, Tony Schumacher.

In his first original series for the small screen, viewers will gain insight into the turbulent lives of officers on the streets.

The Responder: Chris and Rachel work together on the beat in Liverpool (Image: BBC)

The series is made up of five episodes, which are all an hour long and will air from 9pm until 10pm.

With marriage difficulties also on his mind, he is not best-placed to deal with a young heroin addict whom his friend intends to harm.

"I worked really hard at it because there was no way I was prepared to go on telly doing a terrible Scouse accent in Liverpool with a load of Liverpudlian actors.

The Responder airs on BBC One at 9pm.

Tony Schumacher creates pithy dialogue crammed with memorable zingers in The Responder (BBC1), his five-part series starring Martin Freeman (pictured) as Liverpool copper Chris Carson, who is sliding into a morass of corruption

TV and film actor Martin Freeman is one of the UK's best-known stars.

The BBC will be hoping that despite plenty of police dramas already out there, Liverpool-based The Responder will bring something different to the table.

Martin Freeman was previously in a long-term relationship with Amanda Abbington, the actress who played his on-screen wife on Sherlock- although they never actually married in real life.

Freeman has previously been less willing to share much about his home life except for appearances on the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are?

The Responder: Adelayo Adedayo as Rookie Rachel (Image: BBC)

"Whilst trying to keep his head above water both personally and professionally, Chris is forced to take on a new rookie partner Rachel ( Adelayo Adedayo ).

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