The BBC has confirmed a fan favourite character will be returning to the police drama this week.

Anna Maxwell Martin will reprise her role as Detective Chief Superintendent Patricia Carmichael in the sixth series of the BBC hit.

Martin’s character first appeared in series five of Line of Duty, when she was brought in as an independent investigator as Ted Hastings integrity was called into question.

With Adrian Dunbar’s Ted Hastings facing a forced retirement, the character’s return could open the door for Carmichael to take control of AC-12.

Martin said: “Pat’s back, I can’t remember what she’s doing there, nor would I be allowed to blab, but suffice to say she’s got some new clobber and she’s ready to bust some balls.”

Martin, 43, is a two-time Bafta TV Award winner. Her previous roles include the BBC’s 2005 adaptation of Bleak House and the 2015 Agatha Christie adaptation And Then There Were None.

Redhill And Reigate Life: Anna Maxwell Martin is returning to Line Of Duty. (PA)Anna Maxwell Martin is returning to Line Of Duty. (PA)

Line Of Duty returned for its sixth series last month.

The new series of the police corruption show sees Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar, and Martin Compston reprising their roles, while Kelly Macdonald has joined the cast.

The show returned on March 21, with anti-corruption unit AC-12 investigating a new case regarding the senior officer in an unsolved murder case.

The first episode of the latest series broke records when it became the most watched episode of drama since 2018.

Consolidated figures from audience research organisation Barb showed a total of 13.1 million viewers watched the programme, which returned to television screens last month.

It was the most watched episode of drama since the finale of Bodyguard, also created by Jed Mercurio, in September 2018, which had an audience of 14.3 million.

Line Of Duty airs on Sunday nights at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.