Ron Perlman’s shock at CCTV surveillance in London: It’s everywhere you look

Ron Perlman has told of his surprise at the prominence of CCTV cameras in London after working on a new BBC surveillance conspiracy thriller.

The Hollywood star appears alongside Holliday Grainger, Callum Turner and Famke Janssen in The Capture, a six-part drama about the world of misinformation, fake news and the technological capabilities of the intelligence services in the current “post-truth era”.

In the series, Shaun Emery (Turner) is piecing his life back together after his conviction for murder in Afghanistan is overturned due to flawed evidence, but when damning CCTV footage from a night out comes to light, his life takes a shocking turn and he must fight for his freedom again.

Ron Perlman
Ron Perlman in The Capture (Heyday Films/Nick Wall)

DI Rachel Carey (Grainger) is drafted in to investigate his case, but she quickly learns that the truth is sometimes a matter of perspective.

Perlman said that he was surprised at the amount of cameras keeping watch in London while filming the series, written and directed by Bafta-winning filmmaker Ben Chanan (The Missing, Cyberbully) and produced by Harry Potter figurehead David Heyman.

The UK is one of the most heavily-surveilled countries in the world, with London being one of the most-watched cities.

Perlman said: “Coming from the States, the big revelation for me was the CCTV world that is part of everyday life in the UK.

“In London there are surveillance cameras everywhere you look – in places where you couldn’t imagine – in the most private places you are being surveilled.

“But when you think back on the history you guys have had with terrorism – and the amount of actual blood that’s been spilled in this place, and how it’s really become a target as a bastion of freedom and democracy – I guess in order to be secure and free you need to give certain things up. And part of that is some privacy.”

Perlman, known for starring in the Hellboy films and TV drama Sons Of Anarchy, said that he jumped at the chance to appear in the programme.

He said: “It’s the BBC for goodness sake, putting out the best drama on the planet in the last… well probably since its existence, but lately the BBC has been rocking our world.

“TV has become the new indie cinema in the US, but there’s nobody doing it better than the BBC right now. To be invited to be part of a BBC programme is an honour and a ‘bucket list’ thing.

“And I’m really glad I did it, because I’m working around trained actors. People who still have a respect for the craft and go through the process of learning it.

“And also working in a country where culture is still deified enough for the government to find it important enough to actually help finance and get behind it, rather than being embarrassed by it as if it’s only for the ‘elite’ or the ‘Hollywood elite’.”

Holliday Grainger and Callum Turner
Holliday Grainger and Callum Turner (BBC/Heyday Films/Guy Farrow/Matt Burlem)

He added: “It’s been a very cool, eye-opening and very refreshing experience for me.”

Of his character Frank Napier, who he described as “duplicitous”, Perlman said: “The fun of it is finding out across the series, once Frank makes his entrance.

“But he is a guy with a great deal of gravitas and authority. He is a career guy, who’s been around forever doing his thing.”

The series also stars Ben Miles, Laura Haddock, Lia Williams, Sophia Brown, Paul Ritter, Adelayo Adedayo and Ralph Ineson.

The Capture starts at 9pm on September 3 on BBC One.