THE release date for the BBC's forthcoming crime drama The Responder has been revealed.

The show, set in Merseyside and partly shot in St Helens, stars Hollywood actor Martin Freeman.

Last year the cast and crew of the drama were seen filming on location in parts of the town, including Taylor Park and addresses in Eccleston Park.

It has been written by former Merseyside Police officer Tony Schumacher and is set in Liverpool.

Freeman, known for his roles in The Office, The Hobbit, Love Actually and Black Panther, appeared on the Graham Norton show last week and referenced how Schumacher had spent part of his police career working in St Helens.

The series has been billed as one of the big releases of 2022 and it has been confirmed the first episode will be on BBC One at 9pm on Monday, January 24.

It will also be on the BBC's iPlayer.

What they are saying

Freeman plays Chris, a crisis-stricken, morally compromised, unconventional urgent response officer tackling a series of night shifts on the beat in Liverpool.

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).

Both soon discover that survival in this high pressure, night-time world will depend on them either helping or destroying each other.

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Freeman explained what attracted him to the role: “What I loved about The Responder, from first reading it was its world in which there are laugh-out-loud moments, but it so quickly turns into something else.

"And it’s not: here’s a funny bit, now here’s a tragic bit. It’s all mixed together.”

St Helens Star:

Martin Freeman pictured filming at Taylor Park last year

Schumacher, meanwhile, told the Guardian: “Being in the police was like some long LSD trip.

"You’d go into a pub and there’d be a llama there for some reason. And then you’d be called to a homicide.

 “One minute you’re speaking as gently as you can to a recently bereaved relative, the next you’ve got someone restrained on the floor and you’re screaming in their face.

"There are moments of such different size and I wanted to get them all in.”

Hollywood in St Helens

Speaking to the Star last May, residents were delighted to have a Hollywood star on their doorstep.

One said: "It was certainly a surprise to see the camera crews in the middle of the park.

"I looked over to the water's edge and we could see Martin Freeman clearly.

St Helens Star: Filming took place at one of the park\'s beauty spots near the lake

"It was brilliant to see such a big name on the doorstep. They were actually filming on a bench that looks out over the lake - it's one of the most beautiful spots in the park, so I'm not surprised they chose it as a location."