Lee Ingleby interview: ‘The Hunt for Raoul Moat’ star on his true crime drama

Inspector George Gently star Lee Ingleby is returns to our screens this month.

The English actor is best known for his role as John Bacchus in the BBC’s 1950s detective drama alongside Martin Shaw.

You’ll also recognise him from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, autism drama The A Word, Netflix’s Criminal: UK,

His period drama roles include Our Zoo, Cadfael, Sinbad, Crooked House, and The Serpent Queen.

Next up for Ingleby is The Hunt for Raoul Moat.

From the makers of Line of Duty and the writer of 2022’s Hillsborough drama Anne, ITV’s upcoming mini-series tells the story of Britain’s biggest manhunt in 2010.

Lee Ingleby headlines the cast as senior Northumbria Police Officer Neil Adamson, who led the race against time to apprehend Raoul Moat after the fugitive’s two-day shooting spree.

The Hunt For Raoul Moat premieres in the UK on ITV1 on Sunday 16th April, and all three episodes will also be streaming on ITVX.

Watch the trailer here:

Here, Ingleby chats about his new true crime drama and why it’s an important story to tell:


Did you recall the details of this story?

“I remembered it from the news coverage at the time. The latter end of it when the standoff was happening. But I didn’t recall the actual details of how it led up to that moment. Most people say to me, ‘Oh yeah, Gazza?’ Which was such a very minor incident in the whole thing.”


What were your thoughts when you were approached about this drama?

“When I read Kevin Sampson’s scripts I thought it was a really intelligent piece. Then talking to the director Gareth Bryn and a few of the police officers involved, it was good that it wasn’t a sensationalist take on the story.

“It was very much matter of fact and it felt real. And we got to follow the story of Chris Brown, who was shot and killed by Moat, and Sam Stobbart, who he shot and injured. Along with PC David Rathband who was shot and blinded. The drama highlights the victims and also reveals the truth about Moat.”


Who did you speak to before filming began?

“I spoke to Neil Adamson, who is now retired, and a few other police officers who were involved. Neil was the face of the police investigation but I portray an amalgamation of a few people and jobs pulled into one. Otherwise it would be just too confusing a watch to figure out who was doing what.”


Some viewed Moat as a jilted lover taking revenge in the heat of the moment. What was the truth?

“Sam Stobbart had left Moat the year before and told him to stay away. Having started a new relationship with Chris Brown. Moat’s attacks on Chris and Sam were totally premeditated. The police discovered he used two separate types of cartridges in his sawn-off shotgun. One to kill Chris and one designed to maim Sam.

“The online hero worship of Moat by some was very hard to fathom. Difficult to wrap your head around. This was a paranoid violent bully, in prison for assaulting a child, who after his release murdered and maimed innocent victims.

“Neil would read reports of people saying, ‘Moat is a hero because he kills coppers.’ People can conveniently forget the truth about someone.

“It’s very easy to hide behind a keyboard where people think they can say anything they want. It would be a very different thing if someone had to say these things face to face. I don’t think it would be quite as harsh or cruel. There’s a scene that demonstrates that.”


What does this drama also highlight?

“This story is also about violence by men against women. Moat treated Sam as his possession even though she had walked out on him the year before. What drives men to behave that way? This drama highlights that issue which is still a big problem today.

“Sam was so desperate for Moat to stay away from her that she told him her new partner Chris was a police officer. Which was not true. Moat claimed he would not have killed him otherwise. But I’m not sure about that. If anything it just made him justify his actions to himself even more.”


At first police thought the shootings were an isolated incident. What happened next?

“Moat declared war on the police and shot and blinded PC David Rathband who was sitting defenseless in a parked patrol car. So what was thought to be a horrific domestic incident became something even bigger.

“Moat made the threat and then carried it out. In such a brazen, brutal way. Shooting David Rathband at point blank range while he was sat in his police car. The threat was real.

“Neil Adamson was the face of the investigation in terms of the press conferences and so on. He was asked if he wanted to step down for his own safety but refused.”


Neil is at David Rathband’s hospital bedside when his injured police colleague tells him the doctors say he may never see again. What was that like to film?

“You can’t help but get a sense of what it must have been like for the real people involved in this story. I talked to Neil about that scene. The two men actually knew each other quite well. You put yourself first and foremost into the role you are playing. And then, of course, you do think about the people you are interacting with and then the real people.

“When you know this really happened you feel you have a duty to do it as truthfully as you possibly can. But you can’t help but get wrapped up in it when you stop to think what the story is that you are actually telling.”


What did the police have to deal with in terms of another threat by Moat?

“Moat threatened to shoot and kill an innocent member of the public for every lie, as he saw it, printed about him in the press. The police were hunting for Moat while at the same time trying to keep the public safe.

“They took his threat to kill innocent members of the public seriously because of his unpredictability. Having already shot Chris Brown, Sam Stobbart and David Rathband, who was to say he would not lash out and try and teach both the police and press a lesson?

“Neil had a relationship with the media and kept them up to date as often as possible. They were trying as much as they could to work with each other, not least in terms of the local newspaper the Newcastle Chronicle. That’s another thing I liked about the script. It was beautifully nuanced and detailed. Also showing the failings when an initial warning about Moat was sent to the police.

“At one stage Neil pleaded with the press to ask them to consider their actions so as not to rile Moat even more. While at the same time trying to find him in a huge area of Northumberland woodland. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

“It was a very tense and anxious time for the police with lives at real risk. Which led them to impose a lockdown in Rothbury. Having to make decisions that impact on a lot of people.”


Police were eventually involved in a riverside standoff with Moat. How was that filmed?

“It took around a week to film those riverside scenes at a location in Yorkshire. Including a direct appeal from Neil asking Moat to put down his shotgun. When you’re standing there you realise you are not actually that far from him. Even though you are surrounded by firearms officers and you have a bullet proof vest on, I thought, ‘I couldn’t have done that.’

“And then we see the police negotiator who has to carefully choose their words. Of course they are trained and they have to read an individual situation. Not everybody is the same. But it must also be terrifying at the same time.

“I think Moat wanted the police to shoot and kill him – ‘death by cop’ – but he did not get his wish and ended up shooting himself.”


The final Newcastle Chronicle headline we see is ‘It All Ends In Tragedy’. This must have been a very frustrating ending for Neil and his colleagues?

“That sums up the fact there were absolutely no winners in this story. It’s a very hollow ending. You are left with this trail of destruction which is incredibly sad. Also frustrating for the police. David Rathband called Moat a coward for not facing up to what he had done. I agree with that to a point.

“Neil wanted Moat to be arrested and answer for his actions. Which comes through in the drama. He was very determined to bring him to justice. But, of course, that did not happen.

“There is a scene one year on when Neil goes to see Chris Brown’s mother and sister, which he did in real life. Chris was, and has been, forgotten. Most of the focus people had was on the subsequent riverside standoff between Moat and the police.

“It was very important to our writer Kevin Sampson and the production team that Chris should be remembered. When they were talking to Chris Brown’s family about making this drama one of the key things was to put a name, a face and a person at the forefront. So this was not the Raoul Moat story. We remember his victims.”


Why is it important this story is told in a TV drama?

“Most people think they know what happened in this story. But they don’t. This drama shows you what actually happened.

“We see the news reports and then the image of Moat on a river bank with a shotgun to his temple. But we don’t see what led to that moment, who he affected, who he killed, who he ruined. That’s why it’s important to tell this story.”


The complete Line of Duty box set is available on DVD on Amazon.