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Her grisly death had originally been pegged for the season finale but, in a decision that would come to characterise the show, it was moved up — the better to make viewers spit out their hot chocolate. What is now standard Game of Thrones practice was quite revolutionary 13 years ago.

Danny, another original Spook, played by David Oyelowo, did indeed end up in trouble — although not fatally until the end of series three, when he was executed by a terrorist. His demise was followed by that of many, so many, more, agents. Ben Alex Lanipekun was garrotted by rotten Spook Connie Gemma Jones with a blade she had hidden in her bra, then, in the next episode, she blew herself up defusing a nuclear bomb. Jo Miranda Raison sacrificed herself to be shot by fellow operative Ros Hermione Norris , who was later killed by a hotel bomb. Lucas Richard Armitage jumped off a roof, Tariq Shazad Latif was poisoned with hydrogen cyanide and Ruth Nicola Walker was stabbed just as she had vowed to retire and live happily ever after in the final episode.

No one was safe, and especially not your favourite — as I learned when series seven opened with the bombshell, literally, of Adam Rupert Penry Jones being blown up by a car just seconds after he had saved the day, again. In the first episode of a brand new series! So cruel, Spooks — yet so endlessly, enjoyably watchable. People like characters so to kill them is a very dramatic tool.


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Harry fitted that role perfectly. Harry not only survived to the final episode, broadcast in , but he is now reborn, along with the franchise, in a new British movie. The first Spooks film, The Greater Good , is released next month. Fans of the show will be delighted to learn that it is just like Spooks — a bumper episode, really.

The theme music is different but the final scene freezes into an X-ray, just like old times. There is plenty of running down urban alleyways, tense jargon-swapping on the Grid and a threat with a timer on it: in this case, a charismatic, US-educated jihadist called Adam Qasim who escapes from MI5 custody and has a plot to attack London and bring down the British establishment too.

While the cinematic gloss of Spooks always made it a prime candidate for big-screen treatment, it is a gamble. Not least because the British-set spy movie is a crowded field. New cast members have been added, to lure new fans. In time-honoured fashion, he is a bit of a loose cannon and disillusioned with the Service. I like the idea of being a failed spy because of your emotions, but being brilliant at everything else. The film is set mainly in London, with excursions to Berlin and Moscow.

It is directed by Bharat Nalluri, who directed the first and last episode of Spooks. He wanted it to be a love letter to London, he says. Spooks was all about London and the UK. We were very keen to keep it truthful to what the show was about. The set-pieces are longer and the back stories more detailed but this is still Spooks. You could imagine that this world existed.

Series: Spy vs Spook

Spooks ran for 10 series from to and aired in 60 countries. It won a Bafta for Best Drama Series in , was nominated several times more and regularly pulled in seven million viewers. It was hokum, but it was high-quality hokum. A flip through the credits reveals a remarkable list of alumni. The guest spots were no less impressive. Jim North, the civil servant who passed secrets to a Serbian villain via the classifieds of the Evening Standard in series two, was played by Benedict Cumberbatch, while Andy Serkis was the rock star whose son was kidnapped in series three.

They would frequently fight over the death scenes, says Brenton. It never set out to glamorise the spy life, like James Bond — the original series did not even have end credits, to maintain an air of anonymity. Still, the MI5 website would report a regular surge of applicants whenever an episode aired. Suddenly we had this show that was following the undulations of current events, sometimes anticipating them. So some of the things that we talked about and that made it to the screen were going to come to pass.

Director Nalluri kept the scripts long — 70 pages instead of the usual 55 for an hour-long show — and shot on three cameras, to give the show its urgency and pace. There was no slowing down for exposition. We took no prisoners. The characters get things quickly and instantaneously, so we cut it that way. We never took our foot off the accelerator. Though the action was crucial, it was the characters, forever teetering on personal meltdown, that made Spooks.

It just emerged from Nicola and I flirting whilst filming — holding a look too long here, a blush there, those little moments between two people that say so much.

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I think they probably regret it now. The show ended in because the writers ran out of ideas. After all, Tom Quinn — written out in the third series of Spooks only to return in the final scene of the last episode to carry out a kill for his old boss Harry — is still at large.

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    Spooky Scary Skeletons

    In a rarely reflective half-sentence Lottie remarks that she feels a bit sorry for her father when he unmasks a traitor he was at university with. Her preferred tone is sparky and larky. Bingham is a self-confessed chameleon.

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    Cold war British counter-espionage was often cruel. But in a very nice way, of course, because that is what we British do. Some of what he himself does is in danger of becoming not only morally reprehensible, but plain daft. Topics Autobiography and memoir. Biography books History books reviews.

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