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SPOOKS (article first published : 2007-02-5)

The explosive and critically acclaimed series Spooks, Britain’s answer to 24, blasts its way onto DStv’s Hallmark Channel this February.

This second season premieres on the channel on February 4 at 21h00. This follows a successful run in the UK and a Bafta award win for Best Drama Series in 2003.

Spooks (meaning spy), is set in the shadowy world of MI5, the UK’s underground security service. The team – known as ‘spooks’ – have to contend with organised crime, terrorist activities, embassy sieges, weapons proliferation and anarchists, and even tackle office politics.

A topical and edgy drama, it sometimes uncannily reflects events that were played out off the screen. Executive producer, Janet Featherstone said: “There were times when we found our fiction blending imperceptibly with the news. There were a number of times when items in the news seemed frighteningly to measure what had just happened on the screen.”

In Series 2, the threat to national security is on the increase and the need to stop the activities of terrorists operating within the UK becomes more urgent. Top agent Tom Quinn (Matthew MacFadyen) and his team find themselves at the heart of the action. The series gets off to an explosive start, when Tom's girlfriend Ellie and her young daughter are trapped inside a securely sealed house in which a bomb is about to explode, and there's no way out.

Among the other challenges they have to contend with are a visit by the US President, a war criminal on the run, a computer security breach at MI5, a poisonous gas explosion in the centre of London and a potential mutiny in the British army. It’s up to them to defend their country, and to try to deal with the psychological fall-out of leading such dangerous double lives.

Indeed, the cost of being a Spook comes with a price. The spies can never reveal their secret profession to their loved ones.

Producer J Featherstone said: “You can’t tell new boyfriends of girlfriends what you do until they have been thoroughly vetted. None of the normal rules of identity apply.”

Spooks season 2 only on Hallmark, channel 8, runs every Sunday at 21h00.




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