Martin Compston ‘loves living in Vegas because hardly anyone recognizes him’

Barely a month goes by when he’s not on our screens – but actor Martin Compston is enjoying the solitude of life outside the spotlight.

For the Line of Duty star – who plays a cheating husband embroiled in a twisted blackmail plot in tomorrow night’s ITV thriller Our House – family life in America is a world apart from his dramatic new role.

And that’s just the way he likes it.

Speaking over Zoom from his Las Vegas home, he said: “I am at that age now where I am happy to bring it down a couple of notches.

“Most would describe me as a sociable guy, and I still will be, but after the madness of the last year with back-to-back filming, it’s time to calm things down.”

Martin Compston plays DI Steve Arnott in Line of Duty

The actor, from Greenock, said it’s downtime with his family and the relative anonymity of life in the US that he relishes.

He’s also “nostalgic” about the breakthrough role in Ken Loach’s Sweet Sixteen that set him on his stellar career trajectory 20 years ago.

He added: “I owe everything to those guys.”

It’s hard not to imagine life in Vegas – where he lives with his actress wife Tianna Chanel Flynn, 33, and their toddler son – being a whirlwind of flashy nights out.

Their four-bed home, complete with pool and spa, even has its own bar.

But in truth, it couldn’t be more ordinary.

Martin said: “I’ve been doing the daddy daycare stuff while my wife’s been working away.

“She has her own career too. It’s just a balance and I’m really lucky to have so much family and support.”

Martin with wife Tianna Flynn

In October, he was photographed with fellow Celtic fanatic Rod Stewart after a gig at Caesars Palace.

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He said: “I have a friend who knows Rod but I’ve got a very quiet life. The Strip is near and I have one mad night every couple of weeks or month but my life is quiet compared to back home.”

Martin said he’s “immensely proud” of becoming a dad three years ago, adding: “I go to work now for a break. I’ll never complain about early mornings again.”

Vegas is the antidote to life in front of the camera for the star, although he still has a home in Greenock.

He said: “If you ask my wife, Greenock will always be my home while Vegas was a conscious choice so my wife could be close to family. But I only realized in the last few months just how much I need this place.

“It’s because you can come here and, when anyone does notice you, it’s a novelty. I can take my little one to the park and not be followed around.

“Don’t get me wrong, there are some great things that come with being on the telly, some amazing things, and I do make the most of that at times but I have realized that having the anonymity has been great.

“I’ll probably be getting withdrawals from people asking me for selfies soon, though.”

Martin got his big break in 2002 film Sweet Sixteen
Martin got his big break in 2002 film Sweet Sixteen

Since becoming one of our best-loved actors playing DS Steve Arnott in Line of Duty, Martin has gone on to star in a
string of successful prime-time shows including thrillers Vigil and more recently forensics drama Traces.

He also has The Rig coming soon to Amazon Prime Video.

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His latest role, as a wayward husband in Our House, was one of the most emotionally challenging.

In it, he plays Bram Lawson, who separates from his wife Fi (played by Downton Abbey’s Tuppence Middleton) after cheating with
to neighbour.

The first episode opens on a cliffhanger as Fi returns home to discover another couple have moved in – claiming Bram had sold it to them.

Whitechapel star Rupert Penry-Jones stars as Toby, Fi’s new lover.

Martin said: “Our House by far, acting-wise, took the most out of me. It was unique to see a drama based around family and marriage that was exciting on those terms.

“There were a couple of proper cliffhangers there.

“Just from my point of view, it was quite tough that when I read the script I was on my third job back-to-back. I came straight from filming The Rig.

“I’d read the scripts and loved them – you realize this guy’s life is falling apart.

“But I didn’t really have time to get into Bram. It was a tough role.

“He’s a guy with a self-destruct button but he also has some redeeming features. In essence, he is a good guy – he really loves his kids – but I don’t think he appreciates what he’s got until it’s too late.

“He seems like somebody who wants to inject a bit of chaos into his life as soon as things are going too well.

“It was such an emotional ride, just when you see what Bram goes through and that’s what made it so intense to play.

“When we finished, I said I needed a bit of a break, so we wrapped in October and we just went away and were a family for a while.

I’m under no illusions how lucky I am to have been able to do that but it was what I needed.”

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Martin is about as level-headed as it gets when it comes to his achievements.

He said: “I’ve been very lucky over the past 20 years to dip my toe into the independent cinema and TV world and it’s a lot more gratifying when you do stuff that goes to a big audience.

“Especially in these times, it’s great to give people a bit of escapism to take their mind off what seems like a never-ending miserable news cycle.”

He’s still in awe of the success of so many of the prime-time dramas he’s been linked to.

This year marks 20 years since his breakthrough role playing troubled teen Liam in Sweet Sixteen.

He said: “I feel massively nostalgic. I owe those guys absolutely everything for taking a chance on me and giving me that opportunity.”

Now 37, his own view of his roles has evolved.

He said: “It was a weight around my neck at the time. Everyone thought I was that kid.

“Doing Monarch of the Glen was a very conscious choice because it was so different from Sweet Sixteen.

“Now I’ve grown older, where things go well, like Line of Duty, I’m just really proud.”

Martin is working on a top-secret project that he’s producing.

But he doesn’t feel any compulsion to move away from the sort of gritty dramas that have served him so well in recent years.

He added: “If the right scripts come along, then great – but I don’t feel the need to do something different.

“When you see the sort of numbers [viewing figures] involved in that kind of stuff, it can’t not make you proud, so I would never try to downplay or belittle that because I am so grateful for it.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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