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SPOOKS (aka MI-5)

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Last update: 10-13-04

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BBC Press Office
Out of the shadows and back in the spotlight - Spooks returns for a third series on BBC ONE this autumn
Category: TV Drama
Date: 15.09.2004


As the security services come out from the shadows, and intelligence hits the top of the news agenda, the stakes have never been higher for Spooks.

The series has a reputation for an uncanny prescience when it comes to mirroring real-life events.

"This show has always reflected the world around us, now more than ever," comments Executive Producer Jane Featherstone.

"We felt it was important to look at the use of intelligence as a political tool, at how politicians attempt to influence the security services.

"These days surveys tell us that terrorism and immigration come near the top of people's concerns. Since Iraq, intelligence is even more in the forefront of everyone's consciousness.

"Every year when we start developing scripts, we spend a lot of time thinking about what might happen and sometimes we predict the future too well.

"We had to re-think a storyline about interrogation techniques in the wake of what happened to prisoners in Iraq and had to revisit the episode to make it feel more relevant and contemporary.

"In fact, there are some truths that we think audiences wouldn't believe if we turned them into drama.

"This genre of TV drama allows us to have real, modern heroes who can and do make mistakes in the face of the complex, ethically-challenging world this is."

And while the outside world moves faster than ever, the team at Thames House also has to contend with internal machinations - losing a key player and getting to know a dynamic newcomer.

Executive Producer Simon Crawford Collins comments: "MI5 has a high fall-out rate, it's partly why there are so many young people in such important roles.

"Tom Quinn's departure gave us an opportunity to show how people get mangled by the job. In this world everyone is expendable.

"Meanwhile, the MI5 spy-processing machine ensures that someone new can be sitting at your desk the next day.

"The production team weren't so resilient, though, when it came to Matthew's departure - most of them have worked on all three series and watching his last few scenes, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

"His departure made way for Adam Carter, brilliantly portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones, who is in a very different place from Tom Quinn.

"Recruited from MI6, he's a husband and a father with a wife (Fiona, played by Olga Sosnovska), also in the intelligence services, and a child, who doesn't know what his parents do for a living.

"Because it's such a difficult life, a large number of people in the services are married to others in the job. It's a hugely incestuous environment and rich territory to explore: how can you work with a partner in a world full of secrets, lies and danger?"

Producer Andrew Woodhead adds: "It was important that we found an actor of great stature with a commanding screen presence, and someone you could believe would have the same toughness to exist in the world of MI5.

"At the same time, he needed to convey a susceptibility to the moral complexities of the job. In Rupert we found all these qualities in abundance."

Key to the enduring appeal of Spooks is its writing talent.

Featherstone and Crawford Collins comment: "We have the most staggering group of writers of the highest calibre.

"David Wolstencroft, the series creator, is still involved and writing at his peak.

"Howard Brenton has returned to write the opening two episodes. He represents everything that Spooks is about, and the rounding-up of the previous series flows perfectly into the new one.

"We have also established a new generation of Spooks writers who are absolutely in the same world: Ben Richards, a novelist who wrote his first broadcast screenplay ever for the last series; Rupert Walters, whose feature film credits include Restoration and Oxford Blues; and Raymond Khoury, writing for UK television for the first time after working in the US."

Series creator David Wolstencroft says: "The way we continue with Spooks is the way we started with it - trying to break the speed limit, trying to do things that no one else is doing, taking stories in directions you couldn't with other TV dramas.

"And of course we have to stay true to the characters we all love. They're so real to us that any changes in their circumstances are upsetting... you feel so responsible.

"Spooks has also evolved in the real world, of course, and as our world has become more dangerous and fractured, the show has followed these contours quite closely.

"The change in a third series is that we are familiar with what our team's psychological make-up is, what their boundaries are, so we've decided to throw a large number of rocks at them and see what happens!

"Adding or subtracting to the team takes a lot of thought, we want any new addition to be shining from a different part of the sky.

"But it's not like we want to create conflict in an obvious way. It's just the natural progress of any person arriving in an established group - there's always an adjustment reaction.

"We have such an amazing group of actors that simply contrasting them isn't bringing their talents to the fore. We want to see the whole rainbow of complexities when the Spooks team changes."

Spooks is produced by Kudos productions, led by joint Managing Directors Stephen Garrett and Jane Featherstone, which has a rich history of investment in new talent, producing distinctive and award-winning film and drama.

Past productions include International Emmy award-winning The Magician's House and, for Channel 4, Psychos, Pleasureland and Comfortably Numb.

Critically-acclaimed drama Hustle, following the fortunes of a group of London con artists, aired on BBC ONE in the spring, and a second series is currently in production.

Kudos' first feature film was Among Giants and its second film, Pure, completed a successful UK run at the end of last year.

Spooks has also been sold to numerous other territories including Australia, Russia, Israel, Iran, Japan and Latin America.


Episode two of the new series of Spooks will be premiered on BBC THREE immediately after the first episode is broadcast on BBC ONE.

Subsequent episodes will then also be premiered on BBC THREE.

A documentary, Spooks Access All Areas, featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast, will be shown on BBC THREE later in the autumn.

In addition, more information about the new series of Spooks, returning cast, new characters and a whole range of games is available at http://bbc.co.uk/spooks.

And in a first for British television, Spooks viewers will be able to take part in a ground-breaking interactive TV service. Digital viewers can enter the interactive service at the end of each episode of Spooks, both on BBC ONE and BBC THREE.

The second series of Spooks will be released as a six-disc DVD set by Contender Entertainment on 20 September.

Spooks will continue to be screened on the other side of the Atlantic. Renamed M-I5 [and missing about 14 minutes!], and after the huge success of both series one and two in the States, A&E will air series three in the New Year.

From: The Custard TV: The Crumble
Where: http://www.thecustard.tv/thecrumble.html
Topic: News of the Week

Good news: A fourth series of Spooks has been commissioned, even before series three airs.

Where: TV Barn

LOS ANGELES, CA, JULY 21, 2004 - Production has just completed on the third season of A&E Network's critically-acclaimed fast-paced spy series MI-5, set to return to the schedule in early 2005.

Each week, MI-5 follows the intense adventures of Section B as they work to thwart the activities of terrorists, immigration rings, arms smugglers and drug cartels by using their powers of perception and deception. All the while, they must balance the extreme psychological demands of their work and the effect they can have on their personal lives. Section B leader Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) is in charge, relying heavily on his Senior Case Officer Tom Quinn (Matthew Macfadyen, also slated to star in the new screen remake of "Pride and Prejudice"), undercover operative Zoe Reynolds(Keeley Hawes) and surveillance expert, Danny Hunter (David Oyelowo).

This season picks up where last season left off, with the disappearance of Tom Quinn after he is accused of assassinating a senior defense official and shooting his own boss, Harry.

During this edgy and timely new season, Zoe (Keeley Hawes) will find herself in an impossible situation regarding her loyalty to the agency and to her country and will be forced to make a life-altering decision. Along the way, the team must defend their countrymen while dealing with nuclear terrorism threats, missing Middle East peace negotiators, a rogue scientist seeking to mass produce a pneumonic plague, the Turkish mafia, international arms smugglers, and even the indignity of having to work on a kidnapping case for a fading rock star and his supermodel wife.

Season three introduces two new lead characters: Rupert Penry-Jones plays the very dashing and notoriously unconventional Adam Carter, an agent of MI-6, Britain's version of our CIA. Adam is hired by Harry to help MI-5 in the wake of the disappearance of Tom Quinn.

Penry-Jones' film credits include the films The Four Feathers, Hilary and Jackie, and A&E Network's JANE EYRE.

And, Olga Sosnovska plays the mysterious and sexy Fiona Carter, Adam Carter's sexy wife, who is also an MI-6 agent. Due to her relationship with Adam, her path will cross frequently with the members of MI-5, and the lines will become blurred between the two agencies, much as we've seen happen here in the U.S. in the wake of 9/11. Olga is best known for her role as the sexy, corporate spy, "Lena Kundera" on "All My Children."

MI-5 is a Kudos Production for BBC ONE in association with the A&E Network. Delia Fine is the executive producer for A&E Network, Stephen Garrett, Jane Featherstone and Simon Crawford Collins are the executive producers for Kudos, and Gareth Neame is the executive producer for the BBC. David Wolstencroft is the series' creator and Andrew Woodhead is the producer.

For more information on Kudos Production please visit their web site located at http://www.kudosfilmandtv.com

From: Olga Sosnovska
Where: http://pub4.ezboard.com/fsosnovskasymposiumfrm13.showMessage?topicID=350.topic
Topic: So Long

Dearest, lovely all,
I am about to leave for London. I probably should have written this days ago but, as usual, events have been quickly gathering pace and Ive barely managed to keep up. I still have a stack of letters I brought home with me from my dressing room to which I've failed to reply (nothing new there, though I have done my best to write as much as possible these past couple of weeks). So, this is it!

I know that all is relatively quiet on the Lianca front right now but I am heartened to see that the board remains as active as ever in spite of the circumstances. This only confirms my earlier suspicion that the S.S. [Sosnovska Symposium] has become an independent force, brimming with ideas and energy and powerful enough to create its own stimulus for lively interaction. Im so proud of you!

What next? I am leaving the country reassured that the spirit of Lianca continues in its own ever-changing way and that the friendships and bonds uniting this board will continue to thrive.

On a more practical level, I should probably inform you that my own humble contribution will doubtlessly continue in the present form. Although I will not have a computer with me in London I'm sure I will be able to get access to one often enough to drop you a line or two about some of the new developments. I've just read the script for the episode which starts filming in a week or so and it looks like I'll be pretty busy! The story-lines are intense and my character is more removed from me than probably anything I've ever played before. I'm still trying to figure out what makes this woman tick and I can't wait to get some more detailed input about her character from the producers.

I should probably clarify how exactly I am being introduced to MI-5: the 3rd season started filming in January. My character, however does not appear until episode 4 (this I filmed over the 2 weeks in February). Then the story continues without me until episode 7. By episode 8 I will be a fully-fledged member of the team. Next season (assuming there IS one) I'm in from beginning to end.

I am not sure about precise airing dates yet, but I'm told that the series will air in the UK in the autumn and there is apparently only a two month delay in the U.S. So, my friends, wish me luck! It looks like we're in for a fun ride!

I promise to keep in touch as often as I can. With all my love and much nervous excitement, Olga.

P.S. I keep being asked: where do we send your stuff? My answer: DON'T!!! You've already shown me more generosity than anyone deserves - no one in the world has bigger hearts than you but remember, I live in a very small apartment!


BBC Press Office
Rupert Penry Jones and Tim McInnerny join the cast of Spooks as a new series starts filming for BBC ONE

"Slick and stylish" (The Express)
"Fantastically entertaining" (Heat)
"Splendid spy stuff" (Financial Times)
"Spooks is total commitment TV" (Sunday Telegraph)

Bafta award-winning, top-rating Spooks is back - as topical and timely as ever - for a new season of dynamic, cutting edge drama this autumn on BBC ONE.

Paul Connolly, writing in The Times, said: "The BBC's drama output is back on form. The most recent success has been Spooks. Last night's series finale was spectacular. This was an hour of relentlessly exciting and beautifully constructed television and quite possibly the best hour of television I have seen this year."

MI5's crack team of spies Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), Zoe (Keeley Hawes) and Danny (David Oyelowo) has long guarded its hard-earned reputation for infiltrating and thwarting the machinations of arms smugglers, international terrorists and drug dealers.

But their own secret and compelling world was itself rocked to the core and their personal allegiances under threat of extinction when Tom's erratic behaviour caused his closest partners to doubt him at the end of the last series.

The third series opens at the exact moment the last episode ended. Tom has sensationally disappeared, Harry (Peter Firth) is critically injured and the team is in disarray.

Was it treachery? Will they ever see Tom again? And how will they begin to discover the truth?

Newcomer Adam Carter (Rupert Penry Jones) is recruited by Harry from MI6 and his casual confidence galvanises the group into action.

Spooks also features return appearances from Megan Dodds, Nicola Walker and Shauna MacDonald, as well as a new character, Oliver Mace (Tim McInnerny).

And in the opening episode Frances Tomelty features in a Machiavellian cameo role.

Written and created by David Wolstencroft, Spooks is also written by Howard Brenton, Rupert Walters, Ben Richards and Elizabeth Anne Wheal.

Spooks is currently filming in London for transmission later this year.

The producer is Andrew Woodhead and executive producers are Simon Crawford Collins, Jane Featherstone for Kudos and BBC Head of Drama Commissioning Gareth Neame.

Spooks is a Kudos production for BBC ONE.

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