May. 05, 2010
Returning Series
60 min.
Sky One TV Network

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Strike Back (UK) tv show photo

Strike Back (UK)

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.

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Layla Thompson Strike Back (UK)
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Layla Thompson

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  Played by:
Jodhi MayJodhi May
Born in Camden Town, London, to a French mother and German father, May first acted at the age of 12 in ...

Character Bio

Layla Thompson photo
I play Layla Thompson and she's a lieutenant in military intelligence at Section 20 where she works with Hugh Collinson. She's an incredibly challenging, assertive and ambitious woman working in a male-dominated field that she's climbed to the top of. Initially she trusts Collinson and they're quite a team, but friction develops between them when he gives Porter a job. Layla's against the move because it goes against procedure - he's hiring someone who's deeply unqualified. When Porter comes into the fold it's the start of an interesting journey in terms of how those relationships and ideas shift across the six episodes.

As the drama develops, Layla realises that she's very much caught between Porter, Collinson and their history. And she doesn't like the fact that, with Porter's introduction, tension has been brought into Section 20. Obviously there are consequences of that, and her loyalties are torn between her boss and this other guy.

Research for the role...
I know some people who are involved in that world so I talked to them and I did a lot of reading around the subject. The character of Layla has been slightly fictionalised though, in the sense that you would never get somebody in intelligence who was necessarily part of the army. Really she's a hybrid of two different roles that normally exist in the military and in intelligence.

I haven't been involved with any of that, but I know the guys have been having a lot of fun. The stunts are Richard's domain and my character only goes into the field when she has to oversee one of Porter's missions, or to rescue him. She's much more on the intelligence side of it. She's somebody who has to think in terms of political strategy more than military operations.

Working in Johannesburg...
We have a fantastic cast and crew and Johannesburg's a really interesting place to work. The people have a brilliant attitude towards work, they're incredibly motivated and that's always energising. I've filmed here once before on Blood and Oil for the BBC, which was a drama about political corruption in the oil industry in Nigeria and Britain's involvement in it.

Why Strike Back...
Andy Harries and Left Bank were big draws for me. I really respect Andy's work and Dan Percival is an excellent director. This project has been cast in a really original way that's gone against the grain of how you might expect a genre piece to be cast, and that's exciting.

This is an action piece with a thriller aspect, but it also deals with serious current affairs issues and that's always challenging and interesting. Dan suggested that it's almost stealth film-making because you're addressing current affairs in a way that makes them accessible to people who wouldn't otherwise tune into political subjects.

Episode Screenshots

07x01 - Silent War Revolution: Episode 1
Season 7, Episode 01
02x08 - Kosovo (Part 2)
Season 2, Episode 08
07x02 - Silent War Revolution: Episode 2
Season 7, Episode 02
01x01 - Iraq (Part 1)
Season 1, Episode 01
[More Episodes]

Layla Thompson Photos

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