The real story behind the BBC drama series
BBC One viewers are totally obsessed with the new drama The answering machine after its Monday night debut and naturally, they want to know all about Martin Freeman’s character, Chris Carson.
Set on the streets of Liverpool, emergency response officer Carson takes on the night shift and witnesses horrific crimes in local communities.
But the series, which has won acclaim from viewers and critics alike, is actually based on the real-life experiences of screenwriter, series creator, and author Tony Schumacher.
Before making the transition to prime time television, Schumacher worked for 11 years on the streets of Liverpool as a first responder. His experience was so harrowing that he suffered a nervous breakdown which led to him becoming homeless.
“When I first joined the police I remember on my second or third night an old bobby called Colin said to me ‘you’ll never knock on somebody’s door to tell them that ‘he won the lottery,’ he told the Echo of Liverpool.
“You’re only ever going to break bad news in this job, so it’s a big responsibility to take on, but on the flip side, it’s incredibly exciting.
“Sometimes you do things that change people’s lives, whether it’s saving someone’s life or locking up a criminal – you and your colleagues are working all night, every night and constantly living on your head.”
Tony left the role in 2006 due to work pressure. He eventually published his first novel titled The Darkest Hour after a period of homelessness. This was followed by his self-published book Rear View Mirror: Stories from the Streets and the Night, an account of his experiences as an officer and taxi driver in Liverpool.
The answering machine also stars Adelayo Adedayo, MyAnna Burin, Ian Hart, Warren Brown and Josh Finan – to name a few.
The answering machine continues Mondays and Tuesdays on BBC One at 9 p.m. You can gorge on all five episodes on BBC iPlayer.