Jason Watkins in McDonald & Dodds
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Jason Watkins is DS Dodds in McDonald & Dodds: But why won’t creator reveal his first name?

Jason won a BAFTA for his role as Christopher Jefferies, and his character got carved up in Line of Duty...

Jason Watkins returns as DS Dodds in ITV1 drama McDonald & Dodds – but what is DS Dodds’ first name?

The series returns with three new feature-length films, but there remains mystery around DS Dodds’ personal life.

Here’s everything you need to know about Jason Watkins off-screen, and his McDonald & Dodds character.

Jason Watkins as DS Dodds and Tala Gouveia as DCI Lauren McDonald in McDonald & Dodds (Credit: ITV1)
Jason Watkins as DS Dodds and Tala Gouveia as DCI Lauren McDonald in McDonald & Dodds (Credit: ITV1)

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Who plays DS Dodds in McDonald & Dodds?

Jason Watkins portrays DS Dodds in McDonald & Dodds.

He is described as the “humble and quietly brilliant DS Dodds” who appears opposite Tala Gouveia’s “ambitious and feisty” DCI McDonald.

The pair reprise their roles for three new feature-length films going out on Sunday nights at 8pm.

Jason says: “I love playing Dodds, and I really hope to continue to play him for more series.

“Robert Murphy, the creator, has really created a wonderful character.

“You could say he is a bit like Columbo, but there is also a bit of Poirot in there too.

“Dodds has a gentleness to him, a naivety, but in many ways that is his strength.

“He is able to use his perceived innocence to get information out of whoever he is with and use it to his advantage.”

What is DS Dodds’ first name?

Creator Robert Murphy has revealed we may never learn the first name of DS Dodds.

Ahead of the second series start, he said: “I might reveal Dodds’ first name in the very last episode, if it ever comes up!

“The truth is, I don’t actually know what his first name is.

“I just decided not to give him a first name as I like a bit of mystery around him.

“I like keeping some things back so that the more you have to imagine about him, the more intriguing he becomes.”

Robert also reveals the real reason the viewer never sees McDonald and Dodds’ private lives.

He says: “That’s just my preference to stay out in the field with them.

“For it to be interesting when they go home, it has to be dysfunctional, and then it goes into that whole tortured detective vein.

“The thing with McDonald and Dodds is that there is no big traumatic backstory for either of them, they’re actually quite happy.”

McDonald & Dodds returns for a second series, but what is DS Dodds' first name? (Credit: ITV1)
McDonald & Dodds returns for a second series, but what is DS Dodds’ first name? (Credit: ITV1)

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What else has Jason Watkins starred in?

Perhaps the question should be: What hasn’t Jason starred in?

He’s appeared on TV in both dramatic and comedy roles – think Line of Duty‘s Tim Ifield, and Simon Harwood in W1A – as well as on stage.

Jason has been on our TV’s ever since 1987 when he joined the cast of EastEnders as Gerry!

He’s gone on to star in dozens of popular shows, including Five Days, Life on Mars, Lewis and Hotel Babylon.

In 2008, he played Plornish in the BBC One adaptation of Little Dorrit, and Constable Arthur ‘Cabbage’ Patterson in Lark Rise to Candleford.

He’s portrayed plenty of comedic roles including Peter Bishop in Psychoville, Dick Twist in Miranda, and Gavin in Trollied.

Jason won a BAFTA for his role in 2014 mini-series The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies.

The actor played British PM Harold Wilson in The Crown in 2019, Roger in Hold the Sunset and Brian Masters in Des.

How old is Jason Watkins?

Jason Watkins was born on October 28 1966 in Albrighton, Shropshire.

He is currently 54 years old.

Rob Brydon guest stars in the first film of the second series of McDonald & Dodds on ITV1
Rob Brydon guest stars in the first film of the second series of McDonald & Dodds (Credit: ITV1)

Is Jason Watkins married?

Jason is married to jewellery designer and fellow actor Clara Francis.

They met when Clara was 19 and Jason was 24.

Jason was doing a play at the Young Vic and Clara was his dresser.

Jason was with someone else at the time, who he later want on to marry.

He says: “I thought I should be with Caroline properly. We had our first son, Freddie, got married, then our second son, Pip, came along.

“Caroline and I were together happily for 12 years and then we separated.

“Afterwards, I was rather pathetically lost and Clara rescued me.”

Does Jason Watkins have children?

Jason has Freddie and Pip from his first marriage.

After getting together with Clara, Jason moved into her flat in Kentish Town.

Their daughters, Bessie and Maude, came along in 2007 and 2008, by which time they were living in a house in Camden.

Devastatingly, their daughter Maude died of sepsis when she was just two.

Around Christmas 2010, Maude got a cold and flu but her symptoms became extreme.

The hospital discharged her after diagnosing croup.

Jason and Clara found her dead on New Year’s morning 2011.

They went on to have a son called Gilbert.

Jason dedicated his 2015 BAFTA award to Maude and campaigns for greater awareness of sepsis.

He is also a patron of Child Bereavement UK, a charity that supports children, young people and families when a child grieves or when a child dies.

What is DS Dodds’ first name? McDonald & Dodds series two, episode one

The first of three films unites guest stars Martin Kemp, Patsy Kensit, Rob Brydon, Rupert Graves and Cathy Tyson.

They appear as a group of friends who embark on a hot air balloon ride – but not all of them return in one piece…

Jason says: “It was great seeing Martin Kemp on set because I was a Spandau Ballet fan back then.

“I was into New Romantics and groups like Thompson Twins and Everything But The Girl.

“I went to drama school in London in the 80s and we used to go clubbing to Camden Palace and Cafe Royal.

“It was nice to remember the 80s, when I had hair!”

He also reveals a surprising connection to Patsy Kensit…

He says: “It was also great to chat to Patsy Kensit because she was in a TV show in the 80s called Silas Marner, and we gave my eldest son Freddie the middle name Silas.”

McDonald & Dodds returns for its second series of three feature-length films on Sunday February 28 2021 at 8pm on ITV1.

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