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Wednesday 1 May 2024

Interview with Hannah Donaldson (DS Lara ‘Bart’ Bartlett) - Granite Harbour


Prepare for the gripping return of Granite Harbour as the Major Investigations Team, led by Lindo (Romario Simpson) and Bart (Hannah Donaldson), delves deep into Aberdeen's criminal underworld. In this three-part series, the team faces two fatal cases with sinister undertones, including the death of a notorious drug kingpin's fixer, leading to a race against time to prevent a potential drugs turf war.

Meanwhile, tensions rise within the team as Lindo investigates the case of a pregnant stowaway, Mariam (Afsaneh Dehrouyeh), and faces personal challenges with the unexpected arrival of his estranged father, Grantley, from Jamaica. Don't miss Granite Harbour, premiering on the BBC Scotland channel, followed by BBC One and iPlayer. All three episodes will be available on BBC iPlayer from Thursday 2 May.

How does it feel to be back for a second series of Granite Harbour?

It’s feels great! There was so much still to discover about these characters. I’m delighted we were given the opportunity to play again. Second time around we have the chance to delve deeper. As a company we have a short hand in our working relationships too so we hit the ground running. We know what the show is now, the genre, the tone, the audience etc. Hopefully with each series we can build on the last and get bigger and better with each year.

Why do you think Granite Harbour proved to be a fan favourite?

I think Granite Harbour is a fan favourite because while it fits into the crime drama genre it also satisfies a want for those kind of shows minus the (sometimes) gratuitous violence or shock factor. Making it a gentler watch but never short changing an audience on the drama.

What is the storyline this time around?

The storyline centres on a young pregnant Iranian refugee who stows away on a ship bound for Aberdeen. She accidentally finds herself caught up in a drugs operation involving Aberdeen’s notorious crime family, the McFaddens. Trust plays a huge role this series.

Can you describe your character?

My character Bart is chasing promotion. She feels overshadowed by her peer Jay Mallick [played by Bhav Joshi] who has superseded her on several occasions. This only serves to further fuel their rivalry….albeit in good humour. It does leave a chip on Bart’s shoulder. She is torn between her loyalty to her partner Lindo [Romario Simpson], who often takes an unorthodox approach to his policing, and her own desire to play by the rules and step up the ladder.

What do you think are her/his strengths and weaknesses?

Bart’s strengths are her loyalty and her determination. But that determination fuels her need for promotion and I think this could be considered a weakness as it drives a wedge between her and Lindo.

What challenges does she face this series?

The biggest challenge, once again, is keeping Lindo, on the straight and narrow! I think she has learnt to trust his instincts, but it’s a scary line to walk as it puts them both in jeopardy.

What is it like filming in Aberdeen?

Filming in Aberdeen is wonderful. The city and surrounding area bring so much character to the screen. It really fuels the work we do and supports the storyline. It’s Scotland so of course, we have to contend with the weather. But the harshness of the North Sea, the wind, the crashing waves all add another level of drama to the show. I would actually say, the worse the weather, the better the shot. Some of the drone sequences from this series are stunning.

I really hope Aberdonians are proud to see their city on screen. I think we should be seeing a greater diversity of landscapes in our TV dramas. The central belt has long been represented but it’s time to showcase the beauty of the rest of Scotland. I grew up in the north east so I feel particularly keen for us to do it justice.

Did you visit any unusual locations this year?

We did film under the deck of a decommissioned boat in Garelochhead. That was quite an experience. Not great if you suffer from claustrophobia.

How important is the city to the series storytelling?

The city is fundamental to the storytelling. Aberdeen is the story. We couldn’t tell this particular story and have it set anywhere else it is so rooted in the infrastructure of the city, its culture and its people. And the same is true of my character, Bart. We’re all shaped by where we’ve come from. When you grow up in a coastal town you’re always looking out towards the sea. The horizon feels as though you can never quite reach it. I think Bart feels that way. She’s rooted to the shore, for better or worse, but ever striving out towards the horizon.

Describe in five words what viewers can expect from Series 2 of Granite Harbour…

Scots, Scandi Cast, Bigger, Bolder

Time for some police interrogation now…

Tell us a secret about one of the core cast? 

Romario wears thermals in Scotland in the summer.

Which one of you is the DCI of the group and the most bossy? 

I think Dawn is DCI on and off screen. She’s the planner of social events too.

And who is the most by-the-book of the group and why? 

Most by the book is probably Michelle... she was a real police officer for 23 years after all.

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