Since the start of the crime drama series Professor T, Barney White has been in the cast as one of the lead characters DS Dan Winters, with the show filming in Antwerp in Belgium. Professor T has already aired two series (currently streaming on ITVX), in which Barney appears across all episodes, and he works alongside a cast including Ben Miller as the titular character and is directed by Dries Vos and Maarten Moerkerke. In the TV mini-series Roslund & Hellström: Cell 8, Barney played Mike Watson for last year’s release, and he filmed for Ellie & Natasia for BBC Three. Amongst Barney’s other screen roles, he has appeared in films such as Miss Marx and Against the Law, and has had guest roles in shows Holby City and King Gary. We recently chatted to Barney about playing DS Dan Winters in Professor T, filming the crime drama in Antwerp and being in the cast of TV mini-series Roslund & Hellström: Cell 8.
What is DS Dan Winters like to play in the crime drama Professor T and can you tell us about the character?
Dan Winters – what a legend. He has the right mix of compassion and gallows humour to make him interesting. If you are looking at people to text to go for a pint, Dan’s at the top of your list.
How has it been developing the character over the two series already aired and how has it been seeing the viewers’ response to the show?
There was a great storyline for Dan in the second series where he went undercover, but the audience weren’t made aware until the last episode. He was getting involved in all sorts of drug deals and private security. Everyone thought he was on the turn! I was getting messages from people saying ‘please don’t tell me he’s gone to the dark side’, so it was nice to know how much people care!
Was there anything that originally drew you to the project and how did you prepare for taking on the role of DS Dan Winters?
It has always been a dream of mine to be in a police procedural. I loved the original Belgian series so it was a no-brainer when I got the offer. It was originally scheduled to film in April 2020 but got pushed to September because of COVID so I had a huge amount of time to prepare. My policeman friend Jamie whizzed me around London in his cop car, which was pretty exciting, and helped me with a lot of background for the character. I even learnt the trumpet as in the first set of scripts Dan was in a brass band, but sadly the storyline got cut.
Have you had a favourite or most challenging episode to film in Series 1 and 2 and what is it like on set of the show?
The first series was filmed in lockdown and so we had to deal with everything that came with it: endless testing, social distancing, masks. But we forged such great relationships because of that intense filming environment, and it really shows in the finished product as everyone put everything into it. Series 2 had the same cast and crew as the first so it felt like a family on set. It’s a Belgian crew and I can’t praise them highly enough. The whole team is so wonderful.
What do you enjoy most about filming alongside the rest of the cast and being directed by Dries Vos and Maarten Moerkerke?
The main cast are an absolute joy to work with. Everyone believes in the show and wants it to be the best it possibly can be. Each episode is a different crime, so we have a whole cast of new actors arriving every other week, which means you meet so many great people.
Dries created an amazing atmosphere on set, working with him has been one of the highlights of my career. Maarten has taken on the mantle and is a fantastic director; so kind, thoughtful and patient with the actors. If you do a good take, he comes and shakes your hand, so everyone is always after a Moerkerke handshake!
Do you have any stand-out highlights from being involved with Professor T so far?
We film the series in Antwerp in Belgium, and I feel like a local now. I sit in the squares with the fantastically well-dressed Flemish and drink the tiny ice cold beers they drink and think how lucky I am to be involved in the show.
The last episode of the second series concludes with a big action sequence with guns and cars and sirens. I loved filming that and properly went for it.
You played Mike Watson in the TV mini-series Roslund & Hellström: Cell 8, how was this?
Cell 8 filmed in Talinn, in the latter stages of COVID, and production would get me out well before my shooting days just in case something happened with the test I had to take on landing. They put me up in a hotel with this amazing Nordic spa so I had an absolute ball.
I played a drug dealer and opioid addict who has a redemptive arc and sorts his life out. So there was plenty to get my teeth into. I got to work with some fantastic actors: Freddie Wise and Finnish actor Mimosa Williamo were a joy.
How did you find the experience filming for Ellie & Natasia for BBC Three?
I couldn’t stop laughing. In fact, they had to cut me from almost everything I filmed because I was corpsing in every take. Ellie White and Natasia Demetriou are fantastically talented people destined for the very top.
In 2020, you could be seen in the feature film Miss Marx as Michael, what was this like to film?
I worked with Romola Garai, who I have always loved as an actress, and she was so good. It was amazing to watch her work up close.
You’ve had guest roles in King Gary and Holby City, can you tell us about your time working on both?
I’ve been on Holby twice as different characters. Apparently after 18 months they say you can come back as someone else. The first time I was a hipster triplet and the second time I was West Country burglar. Talk about range!
Tom Davis and James De Frond, who created King Gary, are two of the nicest people I’ve met in the industry. I would do terrible things to work with them again.
Can you tell us about some of the previous feature/short films you’ve been part of, which have included No Pain Whatsoever, Against the Law, Social Suicide and Testament of Youth?
Against the Law is one of the best things I’ve done. I only have a small part but the story of Peter Wildeblood was so beautifully brought to life by the director Fergus O’Brien and Danny Mays in the lead role. I was a young actor starting out and they were both so generous with their time and advice. I was only on it for a couple of days but I learnt more from that than months on other jobs.
How did you get into acting and was it something you always wanted to do?
I did youth theatre as a kid and then acted a lot at university. I got incredibly lucky and got an agent off the back of a play I did there and just decided to go for it. It has been ups and downs, as anyone reading this will know, but when you are doing it, there is no better job in the world.
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from acting?
I love The Simpsons. Always have done and always will. Stath Lets Flats on Channel 4 is another absolute favourite and I can’t get enough of The Sex Lives of College Girls. More please! I’m an avid football fan and love Irish poetry, if you can believe it!
Do you have any upcoming projects that you can share and what are you hoping 2023 brings you?
I can’t share my upcoming project at the moment but hoping 2023 will bring even more!
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