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Britain's favourite detectives: where are they now?

Here's what some of our favourite TV detectives are up to now…

britains favourite detective
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior TV & Film Writer
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Who is your all-time favourite detective character? We're sure that everyone will have a different answer to the question, because there are so many outstanding stars to have graced our screens over the years. We've rounded up a few of our favourites to find out where they are now - but did your number one make the list? Find out here... 

John Luther – Idris Elba

As one of the most famous actors on the planet, it's no wonder that Idris Elba as John Luther is in the running to be the favourite detective. Idris began his career working as Stringer Bell in HBO series, The Wire, before going to land roles in Hollywood films such as American Gangster and Thor.

WATCH: Have you ever watched Luther? Find out why Idris' character made the list...

Idris began playing Luther in 2010, and the actor recently confirmed a Luther film is on the cards. "I've maintained that I'd like to see [Luther] come to a film," he told Digital Spy and other press. "That's what I think we're headed towards, is a film. I'm looking forward to making that happen."

luther tv

Have you watched Luther?

DCI Tom Barnaby – John Nettles

John Nettles left his iconic role as DCI Tom Barnaby in 2011 after playing the detective for over 14 years. Acting-wise, since the murder mystery drama, John is perhaps best known for playing Ray Penvenen in Poldark.

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John went on to star in Poldark

Ray is both one of the country's most powerful men and Caroline's kindly uncle, and John previously opened up about the role, telling the BBC: "He lives as a bachelor and is essentially a lonely man. His best line, which I think gives the greatest insight into his character, is that he prefers cows to people."

MORE: The real reason why John Nettles left Midsomer Murders

DCI Endeavour Morse – John Thaw

Taking on the titular role for its entirety was John Thaw. Towards the end of his career, John appeared in other TV shows such as Hidden Treasure, The Last Morse, and Goodnight Mister Tom. In 2001, John was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. After almost a year of treatment, John sadly passed away in February 2002 at the age of 60. His memorial service was held at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London and was attended by many well-known names including Prince Charles, Cherie Blair and Richard Attenborough.


John sadly passed away in February 2002

Miss Marple – Geraldine Ewan

Geraldine took on the part of Miss Marple in 2004 and remained in the leading role until the drama's fourth series, when fellow hailed actress Julia McKenzie took over. On 30 January 2015, however, Geraldine sadly passed away aged 82 at hospital after suffering a stroke three months earlier.

marple letter

Geraldine sadly passed away aged 82

Her family put out a statement to announce the news. "Following a stroke at the end of October and a period in hospital, Geraldine McEwan passed away peacefully on 30 January. Her family would like to thank the staff at Charing Cross hospital who cared for her incredibly well."

Marcella – Anna Friel

Anna Friel began her career working on shows such as Brookside and Pushing Daisies before becoming Detective Sergeant Marcella Backland. Anna has played the role since 2016 and won the International Emmy Award for Best Actress (2017) for her performance. The show returned for season three back in 2020. 

marcella anna

Line of Duty's AC-12

Line of Duty is one of BBC's most popular shows. The series, which began on 2012, has seen many baddies come and go such as Lennie James as DCI Tony Gates, Keeley Hawes as DI Lindsay Denton among others. But throughout the show, the heart and soul has been AC-12 consisting of Chief Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and DI Kate Flemming (Vicky McClure). Fans have been hoping for a seventh season of the hit show. Adrian Dunbar recently gave a huge update on the potential series seven, saying that the cast "might hear something" from creator Jed Mercurio in the coming weeks.

ac 12 group

Bring on season seven!

Broadchurch's Ellie Miller – Olivia Colman

Alongside David Tennant's character DI Alec Hardy, Olivia Colman as Ellie Miller proved incredible popular when solving the crime in Broadchurch. Since the success of the three series, Olivia has gone on to land huge success and is currently gearing up to play Queen Elizabeth II in season four of The Crown – released in November. The actress is critically acclaimed for her work, and won an Academy Award in 2019 for her role as Queen Anne in The Favourite.

olivia broadchurch

How great was Broadchurch?!

Tom Selleck – Thomas Magnum

Playing Private Investigator Thomas Magnum was a breakout role for Tom Selleck in the eighties and he went on to become an icon of the decade thanks to his part. Afterwards, the actor went onto star in Friends, Three Men and a Baby, and more. Most recently, however, he's best known for playing NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan in Blue Bloods.

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Tom is best known for playing NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan 

Jack Frost- David Jason

David Jason began playing the detective in 1992 and remained in the part until 2010. As well as taking the lead in the drama, David 80, is also known and loved for playing classic character Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter in hit sitcom Only Fools and Horses and as Granville in Open All Hours. His most recent acting role was in 2013 when he reprised his role for reboot, Still Open All Hours.

touch of frost

David Jason played Jack Frost

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