A familiar face just made a surprise return to Line of Duty

Line of Duty came back with a bang on Sunday night with the debut of its highly anticipated fifth season, and it is safe to say that the show’s creators wasted no time as viewers were hit with a surprise straight away: the return of a relatively minor but pivotal character.

Ryan Pilkington (played by Gregory Piper), the troubled kid who was last seen in the drama seven years ago, made a comeback and this time he is not only all grown up but he is officially a member of ‘the balaclava gang’.

Line of Duty Ryan

Speaking at a season five screening, creator Jed Mercurio highlighted the significant return, saying: ‘I want to ask the audience a question. Did anybody spot who one of the organised crime gang were? Did anybody spot…? The little kid from series one! The kid who was 12 or 13 riding around on that BMX bike!’

Following the episode, which aired on BBC One, Piper tweeted about his return to the show, writing to fans: ‘Balaclavas off, news is out, look who’s back and all grown up…it’s Ryan. So honoured to be asked back, what an experience to say the least. Roll on the rest of the series!’

For those who don’t remember, Gregory was just 13 years old when he appeared in one of the show’s earlier season as Ryan, a young boy with a terrible home life and a deadbeat mother, who caused trouble in his local council estate due to his involvement in a gang run by John Corbett.

However, most fans will most notably recall Ryan shouting ‘bent b*stard’ at Tony Gates (played by Lennie James). Oh, and shoving Steve Arnott (played by Martin Compston)’s hand into a vice so he could chop off his fingers with a pair of bolt-cutters. Who could forget that?