Greenisland actor Stephen Hagan will be returning to the small screen as the third series of Sky 1’s Lucky Man begins this Friday (July 20).
The gripping crime drama, which also features Northern Ireland talent James Nesbitt, has been written by legendary comic book writer Stan Lee and Neil Biswas and produced by Carnival Films, the makers of Downton Abbey.
In the latest series, Rupert Penry Jones joins the cast as Nesbitt’s arch nemesis.
Based on the concept that a mysterious bracelet could bring its owner vast amounts of luck, series one saw Stephen’s character, Rich Clayton, go through a lot of very challenging experiences.
In series two, Clayton got romantically involved with the female lead DS Suri Chohan, played by Amara Karan.
Stephen (33), who attended Carrickfergus Grammar School before progressing to the prestigious LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), explains what audiences can expect from the latest series of Lucky Man.
“The drama intensifies in series three, we up the ante. There’s a lot more character driven action," he said. "Also, the characters are well established, so the storyline takes on a new life - everything’s in it!
“It’s almost like collectively we all know where the show’s going, what we want from it and we’ve just cranked everything up a level which makes it an even more compelling drama, if that’s possible.”
And how have things changed for Rich in the latest installment?
“At the beginning of series three he’s coping with what Harry’s putting him through whilst at the same time trying to deal with a relationship with another police officer - Suri. They’re trying to figure out how to make a relationship work when Harry Clayton’s nearby, so they’re navigating their way through that in a very adult and mature way.
“Rich’s relationship with Harry has definitely altered, especially with Harry being a wanted man this series. Previously he’s quite liked helping Harry and being there for him because he knows the darker side of London. In this series though it’s become more difficult because he’s also trying to make his relationship with Suri work. With her being such a good police officer who does everything by the book, he’s trying to support and be truthful to her whilst doing the same for Harry and those two things are very conflicting.”
The new series will also give more insight into Rich and Suri’s relationship. “Throughout the series there’s been uncertainty, ‘Are we going out? Are we not going out? Are we dating? Are we this, are we that?’ The relationship is developing but I don’t think either of them truly know how they feel because Harry’s about," Stephen said.
"Rich wants to be there for Harry but at the same time he has very strong feelings for Suri and I think Suri wants to be with Rich, though she also wants to be the very best police officer she can be and she knows that Rich isn’t whiter than white, he has a dark side. It’s very interesting to see how it will progress and what will happen.”
With Stan Lee’s Lucky Man Sky1’s highest rated original drama series, Stephen talks about what it’s like to still be part of the production: “I am immensely proud to be one of the team for so long. When we started the show three years ago we didn’t know what to expect, how it would turn out or how the public would receive it. It’s unlike anything else on television. There are so many interweaving themes. There’s the cop drama aspect, comic book feel and the mystical side to the script.
“A lot of the production staff and crew have been with us for every series so we feel like a real family who have stuck together and experienced all these feelings together. And with characters coming and going throughout the three years, it’s great to still be an important part of the show.
“Personally, I think the heightened drama is so relatable to such massive audiences because of the human relationships which run throughout the show. Bringing the character of Rich to the screen is all about family. We all know that we can’t choose our family but we can do everything in our power to support them through thick and thin, because in the end, family is all you’ve got. I think this is why Rich and Daisy have managed to survive throughout all three series because they are two of the most important things in Harry’s life and he would do anything to keep them alive, even if that includes putting his own life at risk.”
Stephen has also been spotted on local cinema screens recently having starred in the independent movie ‘Zoo’.
Seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old gang led by Art Parkinson (Game of Thrones) the movie is based on the true story of Denise Austin, played by Dame Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey), who was nicknamed the “elephant angel”.
Denise was a keeper at Belfast Zoo during the blitz in 1941.
Stephen plays the role of the zoo’s vet, who is brought in to assist with the killing of the larger zoo animals by the Ministry of Public Security.
“I really enjoyed the filming of Zoo, in particular when I had the rare opportunity to work with a real elephant in Toronto, Canada," he said.
"Being part of a cast that brought to life a true story, which portrayed someone’s desire to do good and seeing how that wins out despite all the adversity, is extremely heart-warming. Zoo is a truly inspiring story with universal appeal and I think audiences will absolutely love it.
“In many ways it reflects the resilience and ingenuity of Northern Ireland people through tough times.”
Stephen is married to the actress and comedian Wendy Wason, who is a regular Blame Game guest.
The couple live in north London with their three children.
Stephen’s family run Ballyclare-based Hagan Homes, one of Northern Ireland’s largest homebuilders.
For fans of Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, the first broadcast of series three will take place on Sky 1 on Friday, July 20 at 9pm.