The producers behind the hit TV drama Line of Duty have hinted that the bumbling villain DCI Ian Buckells who was unveiled as the ‘Fourth Man’ may have been inspired by Boris Johnson.
After fans across the nation finally discovered who the elusive ‘H’ was on Sunday, the BBC drama’s producers, World Productions, retweeted a series of posts that appeared to draw comparisons between the bungling stooge and the Prime Minister.
It came after Line of Duty viewers across the nation described being left ‘underwhelmed’ and ‘disappointed’ as the nail-biting series finale drew to a close – and the mysterious antagonist ‘H’ was revealed to be none other than Ian Buckells.
The detective – widely thought until Sunday’s episode to have been just a bungling stooge – was first introduced to viewers in series one as the SIO in the case of murdered businesswoman Jackie Laverty by then Chief Superintendent Derek Hilton.
He later went on to become Detective Chief Inspector in series four before being promoted once more in this final series.
DCI Ian Buckells who was unveiled as the ‘Fourth Man’ during the nail-biting finale on Sunday night
Following the episode, the producers behind the hit TV drama, World Productions, retweeted a number of posts that appeared to make comparisons between the drama’s villain and the Prime Minister
In one post, which was retweeted by the production team, one Twitter user shared an image of Buckells alongside Boris Johnson.
A message next to the images read: ‘I wonder if the reason so many people are angry, is because they don’t want to acknowledge that this guy is basically Buckells?’
Meanwhile another retweet quoted a line from the drama’s Superintendent Ted Hastings, who fronts the anti-corruption unit AC-12, and read: ‘Your corruption has been mistaken for incompetence.’
The production company also retweeted a post by the former spokesperson for Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell, who used a quote said by Hastings during the nail-biting finale to draw comparison to Mr Johnson.
The retweet read: ‘How some people can fail upwards beggars belief’ – the best @jedmercurio troll of @BorisJohnson yet #LineOfDuty.’
The subtle comparison between the drama’s villain and the Prime Minister come after the show’s creator Jed Mercurio furiously criticised the UK government’s response to the coronavirus crisis last year.
The production company appeared to hint a link between Buckells and Boris Johnson on social media
Taking to Twitter last year Mercurio wrote: ‘Absolutely sickening litany of evasions once again from officials in today’s Covid briefing with journalists letting these lying bastards off the hook.
‘People are dying because of the failures of Govt and senior advisers.’
In May last year, the show’s creator also tweeted: ‘On Sunday, Boris Johnson will announce that because the Govt locked down too late it will make up for it by unlocking too early.’
Following Monday night’s dramatic showdown, viewers took to social media in their droves to share their frustrations as officers from the police anti-corruption unit AC-12 discovered the identity of the elusive ‘fourth man’.
It saw the words ‘fuming’, ‘disappointing’ and ‘underwhelming’ all trend on social media in the aftermath of the show.
And the disbelief it could be Buckells was compounded by the way he was only caught because of his repeated mis-spelling of the word ‘definitely’ – hardly the blunder of a hardened criminal mastermind.
Sharing their disappointment on the revelation, one disgruntled Line of Duty fan wrote on Twitter: ‘Can’t believe I watched six seasons of line of Duty for Ian Buckells, the most pointless character to be the fourth man. Fuming.’
Line Of Duty’s much-anticipated sixth series came to its conclusion on Sunday night with the identity of the elusive criminal ‘H’ finally unmasked
Some disgruntled fans took to Twitter to share their frustrations as Buckells was revealed as the criminal mastermind
While another viewer added: ‘Buckells, the most pointless character’.
The sixth series of the Jed Mercurio creation also saw DI Steve Arnott, played by actor Martin Compston, finally called in for a meeting with Occupational Health, who noted that while he had not broken the law through his excessive painkiller use, he would have to surrender his firearms licence.
Buckells-ing the trend: How Line Of Duty’s controversial choice of big baddie was built up
Buckells played golf with Tommy Hunter back in series one
While many fans bemoaned the big reveal of Ian Buckells as the fourth man ‘H’, the choice was at least more grounded than some other options.
As early as 2017 fans of the show had been bewildered by the incompetence of the detective as he appeared in a more prominent role in series 4.
The way he was promoted throughout his career on the programme – despite his obvious shortcomings – should have also raised suspicions.
Four years ago actor Nigel Boyle had even said himself ‘there’s definitely more to Buckells than meets the eye’.
In episode 5 of series one he was even shown playing gold with criminal mastermind Tommy Hunter in what can now be seen as clear clue.
When his gold clubs were seen in his office in series six most viewers dismissed it as too obvious a signal.
And when he was arrested first time, his blundering interview with AC-12 made it look like he was too stupid to be involved in any grand conspiracy.
The ending of the series when he was finally unmasked played into this disbelief itself when he appeared to admit it was luck rather than design he was last man standing.
And Buckells’ insistence that he just carried out the work of the OCGs orders, rather than directed them, fitted in with the character’s evident stupidity and inability to spell the word ‘definitely’
However, the 60-minute episode’s end failed to offer any resolution on whether the fan-favourite team of DI Steve Arnott, DI Kate Fleming and Superintendent Ted Hastings would return, ending on the revelation that the team has ‘never been weaker.’
The mystery surrounding the identity of ‘H’ has been up for speculation since his character was first mentioned at the end of series three, which aired in 2016, and detectives at the anti-corruption unit discovered there were four officers working within the force who had links to the underground criminal network.
But fans slated Buckells as the fourth man, with one complaining: ‘We waited 10 years for Ian Buckells to be revealed as the OCG mastermind.’
During the episode on Sunday, which saw around 12.8million viewers tune in, Superintendent Ted Hastings, played by actor Adrian Dunbar, was seen asking his colleague Chloe to run checks on the constant misspelling of the word ‘definitely’ as ‘definately’ which had become synonymous with the ‘fourth man’ in previous episodes.
Viewers were introduced to the misspelling when the mysterious ‘H’ sent a message to former undercover officer John Corbett, played by Stephen Graham, in series five.
A number of checks that looked for idiosyncrasies in grammar, punctuation and spelling traced the word back to Buckells who first used the misspelling in a report during the Lawrence Christopher investigation in 2003.
When confronted with the revelation Hastings was left astounded, asking his colleague: ‘Are you sure Chloe?’
The revelation set the stage for a dramatic confrontation between Hastings’ team and Buckells who eventually confessed: ‘Yeah right I’m a blundering fool. I’m only the one whose made total mugs out of you lot!’.
He also revealed the police would have to offer him immunity or Witness Protection if they wanted him to co-operate, telling the AC-12 team: ‘DCS Carmichael is meant to be taking over isn’t she? But she ain’t in here. So that makes me wonder whether she doesn’t want to associated with detecting institutionalised corruption.
‘Because officially institutionalised corruption doesn’t exist does it?
‘Officially ‘H’ or the ‘Fourth man’ or whatever you want to call him, he don’t exist neither. So that makes me realise that everyone would be much happier if this all just went away. So I’ll take Witness Protection and Immunity.’