Actress Vicky McClure has said she does not understand why the gender pay gap exists as she told fans “it doesn’t happen on Line Of Duty”.
McClure, one of the main stars of the hit BBC police drama, was asked for her views on the gender pay gap debate during a panel event at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.
She told the audience at the city’s main conference centre: “I just don’t get it, I just don’t understand why men feel they’ve got the right to get paid more than women. It’s as simple as that.
“I don’t agree with it, obviously, and it doesn’t happen on Line Of Duty, I can tell you that.”
Her views were met with applause by members of the packed audience.
McClure was joined by Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio for a wide-ranging discussion on the show, during which she revealed the “crazy” impact it has had on her career and the fact that she managed to secure the part of Detective Sergeant Kate Fleming despite having a “bad” audition.
Asked by interviewer June Sarpong whether she thought she would always get the part, McClure replied: “No, I had a really bad audition, didn’t I?
“I just remember like missing my mouth when I went to get a bottle of water, I thought ‘oh great’.
“But I knew that the scripts were amazing. I knew that it was something I’d not read before and you could see what they were doing was different and giving a female that amount of work was also a big deal to me.”
She agreed it is important to have strong female characters like Kate on television.
“Of course it is,” McClure said.
“I’ve got to say I do think Line Of Duty always nails it with casting. For me, it’s never obvious. Neil Morrissey in the first series? He was genius.”
She added: “The people we get in aren’t obvious and they nail it every time. The casting is always for the right reason.”
McClure described the programme as a hard show to make but said the lengthy continuously-shot interview scenes are her favourites.
“We genuinely just spend a long time learning the lines,” she said.
“It’s not wanting to be the one to let the side down, so everybody’s always massively prepared.
“We’ve all got a lot of respect for each other, we’ve all spent a lot of time and effort making sure that we’re not the one that forgets the line right when somebody’s at some tense moment. I’ve got to say, as hard as they are, they are my favourite scenes.”
Line Of Duty has been commissioned for two further series.
Earlier this year the crime drama’s final episode of the fourth series scored the highest viewing numbers in the programme’s history, with 7.5 million tuning in.
The Nottingham-born actress said she finds it hard to comprehend the scale of the show’s popularity.
And Mercurio admitted he continues to be surprised by the ratings.
He said: “I think I’m always surprised when something absolutely works.”
Mercurio went on: “It’s just the fact that you never know whether something is going to connect. You can work as hard as possible on something, do the best work possible, but it’s a very democratic process and also there are narrow margins.
“It might just be scheduled on the wrong night of the week, the trailers might not be right, the title might be wrong – anything can go wrong.”