Strike Back is a British/American action and military television series, based on a novel of the same name by novelist and former Special Air Service (SAS) soldier Chris Ryan. The series follows the actions of special forces soldiers who work for an elite part of MI6, only known as Section 20., a secretive branch of the British Defence Intelligence service (DI), who operate several high risk, priority missions throughout the globe.
Attraction to Strike Back...
The script's a page-turner, and they're rare. It's really lovely to sit down to start reading something and then not be able to stop because you have to know what's going to happen next. Then when you see who else is involved, Dan Percival, Jodhi May, Andrew Lincoln, Richard Armitage, you definitely want to be a part of it.
It was interesting during my research to look at civil servants and the importance of the civil service within our country. I think they've been slightly undermined, and that's a great shame. If people were to look at the bigger picture, they'd see that it is important to have those people in the game.
It's been great to be here. I'm involved with various charities, including The Prince's Trust, so I've been able to go and visit some projects while I've been here. I went to Soweto and met some incredible people there.
This project is so current, it's about what's really going on now in our world. I think drama can bring a human face to situations we sometimes don't understand. And I think people like to learn that it's not just numbers and names, it's real people at every level.
I read the script for episode three with the Mugabe scenes and just thought, “wow”. It's one of those scenarios that's been discussed at many a dinner party; why hasn't an assassination ever happened? I like the way the script sort of explains that to us, it isn't right for us to become the enemy. And I think the Baghdad storyline is really powerful with Orla's character and the kidnapping. And the whole series starts out with an example of how mistakes can be made because of the complexity of fear.
In times past in South Africa you were either a policeman or a soldier, so you can have the props guy or the make-up girl coming up and showing you how to hold a gun, because a lot of people have experience in it. The advisors we have on set are very serious about what they do, and they're very calm. You often find that really hard guys are really very gracious because they have nothing to prove and they just like peace.
Development in drama on Sky1...
I'm thrilled about the progression of the channel. The Take was fantastic and there was such a buzz surrounding it. Sky1 can be a natural home for drama, and I'm glad there's someone getting involved. I think that maybe we've underestimated audiences for a while with drama output; people are desperate to see good, intelligent drama. Strike Back feels like it's within the tradition of British drama, but with action. It's visceral but it's also bright and it's sexy. Sky is a good house to be in at the moment. I'm proud to be involved with this project, and I was proud to be involved with Hex. I loved Hex and globally it was massive, as this has the potential to be.
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