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Spy-fi not sci-fi

28/05/2006. Contributed by Jessica Martin

Buy Spooks in the USA - or Buy Spooks in the UK

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BBC TV series Spooks is back for a fifth series, kicking off with a two-part special. Hint ... it's a bigger fantasy than Conan the Barbarian.

British TV series Spooks will be back on BBC ONE later this year, beginning with a two-parter which sees the country on the verge of anarchy. The growing threat of terrorism, fuel shortages and chronic loss of confidence in the government are about to bring Britain to a standstill.

MI5 supremo Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) and team leader Adam Carter (Rupert Penry-Jones) - who both survived the series 4 cliff-hanger which saw them become the target of an ex-MI5 sniper - soon begin to suspect that rogue members of the British 'Establishment' may themselves be sabotaging the very system they sought to uphold in order to bring about a radical change of government...

The growing crisis necessitates that the team work closely with head-strong, high-flying MI6 agent Ros Myers, played by new cast member Hermione Norris (Wire in the Blood, Cold Feet), who soon makes her presence felt on The Grid and instantly generates an undeniable spark with Adam.

The series opener also sees Anna Chancellor (Suburban Shootout, Tipping the Velvet) resume her role as Juliet Shaw, National Security Coordinator, with guest appearances from Robert Glenister (Hustle, Class of '76) as the Home Secretary, and John Castle (Princes in the Tower) as Jocelyn Myers, Ros' father - a wealthy and powerful industrialist who holds the key to the conspiracy. Series 5 also sees the return of Tim McInnerny (Casanova, Blackadder), resuming his role as Oliver Mace, Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and Harry's friend and adversary.

But this time he and Harry are set to come to serious blows, with Mace using Harry's burgeoning friendship with MI5 desk officer Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker) to pressurise Harry into supporting a cover-up operation regarding the torture of suspected terrorists.

Episode 8 sees Lennie James (Buried, Snatch) guest star as Bishop David Newman, a disillusioned government advisor on religious affairs who becomes involved with Christian extremism and a plot to assassinate known Islamic terrorists.

Series 5 storylines also include a home-grown Al Qaeda cell planning an attack on London; the British government selling nuclear technology to Gulf states; environmental terrorists staging an attack on London to demonstrate the danger of Global Warming; and the US administration selling arms to African dictators - the fifth series of Spooks promises to be even more thrilling and ground-breaking than ever.

Andrew Woodhead, producer of Spooks, told "Spooks has a knack of telling contemporary, relevant stories in a hugely exciting way, and from a uniquely British perspective. It gives viewers a powerful insight into the political and social challenges we currently face and series five is more perceptive and hard-hitting than ever. Hermione Norris as Ros Myers brings a new and exciting dynamic to the core team and we can't wait to see how viewers respond."

Rupert Penry-Jones, Peter Firth, Hermione Norris, and Nicola Walker are re-joined on The Grid by Raza Jaffrey, Miranda Raison, Hugh Simon and Rory McGregor (as officers Zafar Younis, Jo Portman and technical geniuses Malcolm Wynn-Jones and Colin Wells) to complete the core Spooks team, protecting the UK against threats to national security - including terrorism, espionage, serious crime and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

A sixth series has already been commissioned by Jane Tranter, Head of Drama Commissioning at the BBC, it was announced today.

The 10 new hour-long episodes of Spooks are written by Ben Richards, David Farr, Zinnie Harris, Raymond Khoury, Julian Simpson and Neil Cross.

The series is produced by Andrew Woodhead and executive produced by Jane Featherstone and Simon Crawford Collins for Kudos Film and Television and Lucy Richer for the BBC. The series was created by David Wolstencroft.

Spooks will air on BBC ONE in Autumn/winter 2006.

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