Law And Order: UK (ITV1, 9pm)

AFTER several years in outer space, returning to film on the streets of London where he grew up was a treat for actor Jamie Bamber. He is one of the stars of Law And Order: UK, which transplants the format of the successful US series to the capital.

Best known for his portrayal of Apollo in sci-fi hit Battlestar Galactica, he plays Detective Sergeant Matt Devlin, who is partnered with Bradley Walsh’s DS Brooks.

“Early on, we shot scenes in Barnes, which is where I grew up. As an actor, that is a significant moment,” says Bamber.

After being away filming in the US for several years, he wasn’t expecting his return to British TV would be so high profile. “I assumed if I got a job back in the UK it would be a two or three parter, then back to LA,” he says.

“What I get is a huge American adaptation being produced by a really exciting team. I was excited by the newness of coming back here.”

He didn’t much like filming in a studio that used to be a Ministry of Defence unit in the middle of nowhere.

But he loved filming in Holborn Station, in London, in the rush-hour buzz.

“I’ve never filmed on the street before in throbbing vibrant centres and that is what makes the job exciting,” he said.

His character, Devlin, is from an Irish Catholic family and grew up in Kilburn, outside London. “It was very difficult for him and his family. He has issues with them and has defined himself as his job, as a policeman. He absolutely loves his job.

“He has a romantic idea of what it is to be a policeman. He inherits it from the great fictional detectives and that is why he went into policing.

“He works with this guy Ronnie Brooks, who’s from the Sweeney era of policing. He has grown and been mellowed because he lived through that very gung ho era and has become a very rounded empathetic understating individual. Matt is much more aggressive – people are either innocent or guilty.”

Not that we’ll see too much of Devlin, or the other characters away from work. The whole idea of Law And Order is that you don’t go home with the characters, but see their working relationship.

“These two guys are best mates, but you know they have no idea what each other’s apartments look like.

They share a desk, a car, they work on all the same cases and they love each other, but would never admit it.”

He didn’t bring any preconceptions of Bradley Walsh to the set. For a start, Bamber has never really watched Coronation Street or been what he calls “a light entertainment guy”, so he didn’t really know what to expect.

“What I’ve discovered is the most interesting, charismatic, clownish, fun guy to work with, who is also a natural born actor and has really got a great brain when it comes to scripts, dialogues and dramatic sense.

“He is completely different to me in terms of background and sensibility, but there’s something there in the chemistry.

“I like him very much as a guy, he makes everyone laugh all day long. He is a clown and can’t stop doing it. It is a real insight when you see him doing Law And Order and then going off to rehearse his panto lines. He’s a real entertainer.”

Bamber had never watched a full episode of the US series Law And Order before getting the part, but his Battlestar co-star Edward James Olmos gave him some advice. “He told me, ‘don’t base your character on other screen policemen. If you are going to base it on anything, make it something you understand, or a real policeman’,” he says.

“I based it on meeting a couple of guys; a detective I met from Streatham, and the character on the page, the pure enthusiasm of a man who loves what he is doing and believes in it.

“He gets frustrated and you can see him growing in the understanding of what the job is like.”