Line of Duty” creator Jed Mercurio may have broken records with the last (and, he has claimed, final) season of the hit cop show but he admits he still has to navigate rejection.

“I think everybody has to persuade and cajole [to get work],” Mercurio said during a panel at the virtual Creative Coalition Festival in the U.K. “I don’t think that there’s anybody in the industry who just gets opportunities given to them. Certainly from my perspective, I’m constantly generating new ideas and proposing new work and most of it gets turned down. It just does and that’s the reality.”

“I think it’s important for people coming into the industry or who are in the early stages of their career to understand that you just have to keep coming up with new material because there’s no guarantee that the thing you’ve worked on is going to be accepted and propel you forward. And what I’ve found over the years is that I’ve had good years and bad years. There have been times when, you know, a project has been picked up and has been made.”

“But I’ve also had two or three years on the trot where things were turned down and whatever those reasons were – which ultimately would be irrelevant because it’s just about the commissioning process and the tastes of the commissioners – you have to be professional about it and have more than one thing in development at any time and you have to just keep being persistent.”

Mercurio also lamented the geographic and economic opportunities rife within the creative industries, pointing by way of example to “Line of Duty” stars Vicky McClure and Martin Compston, both of whom come from working class backgrounds that meant they couldn’t afford to go to drama school.

“And for both of them, it was about being commercially successful, otherwise they would end up leaving acting,” Mercurio explained, adding that McClure (who now has her own production company), worked in an office throughout her twenties “because she needed to earn money.”

“There are two things at play there,” Mercurio said. “One is the basic economic inequalities and then the other thing at play is the geographical inequalities, that if you grow up in a region outside of London, then there are fewer creative opportunities but also you need the economic muscle to be able to move to London, and live in London. So it ends up being a double whammy.”