Mother of God, bungling bent cop Ian Buckells can once again laugh at everyone’s expense.

The bumbling oaf shocked millions of Line of Duty fans when he turned into a cocky, sneering villain and was unmasked as the Fourth Man, once codenamed H.

But Nigel Boyle, who played Buckells, has another surprise up his sleeve. To some fans he is H for hunk.

He told us: “One of the funniest things my mate spotted on a fan group was someone saying, ‘Oh, my God he looks nothing like Buckells’ and ‘I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for farting!’

“Another wrote, ‘God, he looks quite dishy doesn’t he?’

“It’s just really funny. I’ve got this beard and my hair is different. Who’d want to look like Buckells in real life?”

Nigel Boyle as DCI Ian Buckells in Line of Duty pictured on set of the hit show
Since 12.8 million viewers tuned in to watch the final episode of Line of Duty, Nigel has been flooded with WhatsApps and Tweets

The Aston Villa fan has also impressed ex-footballers Ian Taylor, Chris Kamara and Stan Collymore, for Buckells’ nod to the club’s ground by owning a company called Holte End Holdings.

But being Britain’s biggest TV baddie is a far cry from some of the married dad of three’s earlier performances.

Although he has had stints in Coronation Street, Silent Witness and Doctors, he also dressed as a pink bunny for a KFC Easter promo in 2003.

Line of Duty stars Vicky McClure, Perry Fitzpatrick, Nigel Boyle and Kelly MacDonald
Nigel with his co-stars Vicky McClure, Perry Fitzpatrick and Kelly MacDonald

Last year he starred in director Steve McQueen’s Bafta-nominated BBC mini-series Small Axe and would love to be in a seventh series of Line of Duty.

Buckells was last seen by 12.8 million viewers smirking as he was led into a prison cell.

Nigel said: “Maybe he thinks he’ll get let off lightly, because he knows top brass don’t want to investigate institutional corruption, because they just don’t want the heat. He thinks, ‘I’m doing all right here, as long as I can stay alive’.”

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When creator Jed Mercurio told him he was H it was a “complete surprise” – a secret he shared with just his wife.

He said: “It was a huge weight off my shoulders when everyone knew.”

He said of the mixed reaction to the big reveal: “I can understand the frustrations but Jed hit the nail on the head.

“Buckells isn’t a criminal mastermind and that’s the point this series was ­making. He was easily bought. The real masterminds are the OCGs pulling the strings.

“I don’t take it personally that some people think H is a huge disappointment. I prefer to think of it more, as someone said to me, that I’ve become one of the biggest TV baddies of all time.”

LoD series six is on digital. A DVD of all series is out on May 31