Adrian Dunbar is up for a challenge - after wrapping another series of ITV detective drama Ridley he'll be appearing in his first West End musical this summer.

Shortly after curating a three-day festival of work by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett in Liverpool in May, he'll be slipping on his dancing shoes to star in the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me Kate at The Barbican.

Producers promise the show - about warring exes staging a production of The Taming of the Shrew - will feature a 50-strong tap number.

The Northern Irish actor is well known for being able to hold a tune, but when I ask about his hoofing skills, there's a long, comical pause: "Ah that will be interesting.

Ham & High: Adrian Dunbar famously played Superintendent Ted Hastings in Line of DutyAdrian Dunbar famously played Superintendent Ted Hastings in Line of Duty

"I do like to get up and have a bit of a dance, but this will be breaking new ground."

He adds: "I am very excited about being at the Barbican for the whole summer and raring to go, I will probably end up like a stick insect. It's going to be pretty full on, but I have always loved musicals and wanted to do one, and was given this chance by (director) Bart Sher."

Before that there is another challenge, appearing in Park Theatre's fundraiser Whodunnit Unrehearsed which sees a different celebrity every night slotting into a madcap murder mystery involving, a train, diamonds, a magician and a high body count.

Dunbar is about to do it for the third time, joining the likes of Gillian Anderson, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Simon Callow, Brian Cox, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Gatiss, Tamsin Greig, Harry Hill, Ronan Keating, Daisy Ridley, Catherine Tate and Jodie Whittaker during the five-week run.

Ham & High: Whodunit Unrehearsed 3 sees big name celebrities step into the shoes of an Inspector solving a madcap murder aboard a trainWhodunit Unrehearsed 3 sees big name celebrities step into the shoes of an Inspector solving a madcap murder aboard a train (Image: Park Theatre)

"It's huge, huge fun," he says: "They put this thing in your ear and feed you the lines. The audience doesn't know who's coming through the door - it's a surprise every night - it could be me or Benedict Cumberbatch!

"You are the inspector and the other actors know what they are doing. They say 'here's the inspector who's really good at tap dancing or playing the drums'. They throw things at you and you just have to make an idiot of yourself."

Unlike the deadly serious cases cracked by his character Ted Hastings in Line of Duty, the murder is "slightly outlandish, but it's worth hanging with it. It's just a fantastic evening for an audience."

Ham & High: Dunbar will also appear in the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me Kate at The Barbican this summerDunbar will also appear in the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me Kate at The Barbican this summer (Image: Supplied)

Dunbar, who lives in Highgate, says Park Theatre needs the funds: "It's living and dying on these whodunnits.

"It's a little cultural beacon there in Finsbury Park. It caters to everyone, it does new writing, and has no subsidy. They've managed to keep it going by the skin of their teeth, and it really needs support."

Post Line of Duty, Dunbar is proud that his four-parter about retired detective inspector Alex Ridley, who returns to the force as a consultant to help out on complex cases, was one of ITV's most popular dramas of 2022.

He's now filming a second series of four two-hour episodes to air in July or August.

"Sunday night TV is a challenge to get right. For an audience to stay with it for two hours you need excellent standalone stories and some really fabulous actors. I do progress the character. I am going to continue moving him away from his past and reinventing him."

Dunbar's career has been a stimulating mix or stage and screen and he admits "I love the variety."

"I have found over the years that I have very little to do with it. People ask you to do things. I think 'this seems to have legs,' and before I know it I am doing it."

So did he think Jed Mercurio's hugely popular Line of Duty 'had legs?'

"We all just thought we were in a six-part series with Lennie James and it was going to return as a six-part series with Lennie James.

"Then much to our shock and horror he was killed off and we thought that's the end of that. But the BBC commissioned a second series and then we heard that all our characters are coming back.

"It took off half way through series two, that's when we thought 'this might have legs'. But Jed had a bit of a penchant for killing people off after one episode, so you could never feel safe. We all thought 'at any time I could get wiped out'."

He admits it was odd when fans obsessed over every plot twist or his photos with co-stars Vicky McClure and Martin Compston.

"It did get a bit nuts," he added. "Even today if the three of us went out in the West End and took a few photos and put them online it would probably burn up the internet.

"There's a lot of people out there who want to see it happen again. Who knows, they may resurrect the corpse of Line of Duty."

Whodunnit Unrehearsed 3 runs at Park Theatre from March 27 to May 4.