Martin Freeman's best roles, from 'The Responder' to 'The Office'

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·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·4-min read
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Martin Freeman's best roles. (BBC/Warner Bros)
Martin Freeman's best roles. (BBC/Warner Bros)

Police drama The Responder comes to BBC One with Martin Freeman as you've never seen him before - with a Scouse accent.

The TV and film actor takes the lead role in a new series about police responder Chris Carson whose mental health has taken a hit from the pressures of his job and regular night shifts.

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Freeman, 50, shows Chris in a spiralling state as he tries to battle through the stresses of work and his family life falling apart, with his colleagues believing he is corrupt as he tries to help a heroin addict who is in danger.

The star isn't often seen taking on a different accent, but he explained that he took being Scouse very seriously: "If I couldn't do it properly then I wouldn't do the accent, I would just have done my own version of my own voice.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 18/01/2022 - Programme Name: The Responder - TX: 24/01/2022 - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows:  Chris (MARTIN FREEMAN) - (C) © 2021 Dancing Ledge Productions - Photographer: Rekha Garton
Martin Freeman stars in 'The Responder'. (Dancing Ledge Productions/Rekha Garton)

"I was really pleased when I heard that some of the Scouse actors asked if I was from Merseyside - it was like I’d passed some sort of test.

"I worked really hard at it because there was no way I was prepared to go on telly doing a terrible Scouse accent in Liverpool with a load of Liverpudlian actors. There's just no way. I'd get taken to the cleaners and rightly so."

The Responder is set to join the long list of roles to be proud of to Freeman's name, which include Hollywood hits and TV cult classics.

Martin Freeman's best TV and film roles

The Office

Martin Freeman starred alongside Mackenzie Crook, Ricky Gervais and Lucy Davis in 'The Office'. (BBC)
Martin Freeman starred alongside Mackenzie Crook, Ricky Gervais and Lucy Davis in 'The Office'. (BBC)

To Ricky Gervais fans, Freeman will forever be Tim from The Office.

It was one of his first major roles on TV and saw him as the jaded young office worker that many viewers would have identified with as he grew ever more entrenched in a job he hated and had long outgrown.

Read more: Final series of Ricky Gervais' After Life gets mixed reviews

However, it wasn't all misery for Tim, whose main reason for staying as David Brent's underling was one of the great screen romances of comedy - his feelings for receptionist Dawn (Lucy Davis).

Fans of the sitcom saw Tim and Dawn finally get their happy ever after by the finale and Freeman will also be remembered for his character's merciless teasing of the ever-so-slightly superior Gareth (Mackenzie Crook).

Sherlock

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in Sherlock
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in 'Sherlock'. (BBC)

There's been many an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes over the years, but few have been as successful as the BBC's Sherlock.

Benedict Cumberbatch played the title character of course, but key in all of his investigations was trusty sidekick John Watson, played by Freeman who won a Bafta and an Emmy as supporting actor.

It was a huge hit with viewers and drew in impressive audiences, but while season four aired way back in 2017 and creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have plotted a fifth, it has never been confirmed to go ahead because of Freeman and Cumberbatch's conflicting schedules.

The Hobbit

Martin Freeman in 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'. (Credit: Warner Bros)
Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. (Warner Bros)

Freeman has made the jump from small to big screen a number of times, but by far his most celebrated film role is as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit trilogy, adapted by Peter Jackson from J.R.R. Tolkien's work.

It saw him lead a cast of stars including Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood as he played the reluctant hero Hobbit setting out on an adventure to reclaim his home village from the dragon Smaug (voiced by Sherlock co-star Cumberbatch).

Freeman is yet to land another film role as prestigious as this, but it's definitely a high point of his CV.

Breeders

Breeders airs on Sky One. (Sky/FX)
'Breeders' stars Freeman and Daisy Haggard. (Sky/FX)

Freeman's more recent work has seen him back in the world of comedy, starring alongside Daisy Haggard in Breeders.

The pair star as Paul and Ally in this dark comedy about parenting that's miles away from the cosy jokes of family sitcoms such as Outnumbered.

Read more: The best TV shows of 2021

Paul's parenting battles are said to be partly based on Freeman's own experiences as a dad of two and the critically-acclaimed series is due to air a third season soon.

Fargo

The actor starred in series one of Fargo. (Netflix)
The actor starred in series one of Fargo. (Netflix)

Another rare series where Freeman didn't sound like himself was for the TV adaptation of Coen brothers classic Fargo.

Freeman starred in series one where he played life insurance salesman Lester Nygaard, still being tormented by a childhood bully when he meets hitman Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) by chance.

Malvo suggests killing off the bully, leading to no end of problems for Nygaard who unleashes his own inner fury.

The series also starred Colin Hanks and Bob Odenkirk, and saw Freeman nominated for a number of best actor awards, including an Emmy.

The Responder starts tonight (Monday) on BBC One at 9pm.

Watch: Martin Freeman stars in trailer for BBC drama The Responder

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