THAMES House, London. MI5 Central HQ.
Spooks is back with a spy swap, fish and chips and a lesson in the use of cutlery.
As regular readers will know, I’ve been a fan since the very first press launch for series one.
I went on set again back in April to interview cast members.
The first feature ran in the MEN yesterday – the online version is here.
Some fans will already know what’s ahead.
But along with other members of the media, I’ve agreed not to spoil viewers’ enjoyment of the new series by revealing too much detail.
So you won’t find any major spoilers below.
I’ve now been fortunate enough to see the first two episodes of series seven, which is due to begin on Monday October 27.
Does Spooks still have what it takes?
I watched the opening two episodes back-to-back.
And then after re-adjusting the edge of my seat, I immediately sat down and watched them all over again.
For my money, episode one is about as perfect an hour of television drama as you could wish for.
Thrilling entertainment and top quality TV.
Including an exceptional eye for photography behind the camera.
As ever, just a heartbeat ahead of the real world, those crazy races against time still draw you in as the MI5 team fight to save us all.
You know what you’re getting in Spooks – but it can still shock and surprise.
One scene in episode one took my breath away.
As did another in episode two.
The character of Ros (Hermione Norris) appears to have been taken to an even higher level of ice-cold ruthlessness.
Hermione has a CV full of brilliant performances.
But one sequence in the second hour of Spooks 2008 may just top the lot.
Richard Armitage joins the regular cast as Lucas North, an MI5 spy brought in from the cold after eight years in a Russian prison cell.
Can he be trusted?
When we met up on set, he told me about the weight he had lost to show how malnourished Lucas was on his return to Britain.
A scene in the washroom certainly confirms the effort Richard put in.
Lucas was on The Grid before we first met Section D in 2002 and there are some nice touches.
Including Lucas asking Harry about Tom Quinn, who was played by Matthew Macfadyen (pictured left).
Then there’s the wit and wisdom of Sir Harry Pearce, played by Peter Firth.
As the series begins, he tells Adam (Rupert Penry-Jones): “Things are very bad with the Russians.
“At least they’re not teetotal like many of our opponents.”
Some worried that after seven years on screen, Spooks might run out of steam.
On the evidence so far, it’s still as hot as that infamous deep fryer in the second ever episode.
Will Harry ever find happiness?
Many Spooks fans still hold out hopes for the return of Nicola Walker as Ruth.
There was a spark of romance between Harry and Ruth before she was forced to fake her own death and vanish in series five.
Back in April I asked Peter if Ruth could come back.
“It keeps surfacing that rumour,” he smiled.
“How many times can they get my hopes up?”
Did he think it was destined to happen?
“You’d think so, wouldn’t you?
“There was a rumour last year and it didn’t work out, and again there’s a rumour this year that she’s coming.”
I asked Peter whether he’d started both rumours.
“No, they’ve been fed to me.
“And I speak to Nicola, but it doesn’t seem to be coming about.
“But it would be great. It would be very nice.”
Everyone just wants Harry to be happy, don’t they?
“And that’s not going to happen,” laughed Peter.
Time To Get Spooked Again
Spooks Official Site
Spooks Fan Forum
MI5 Official Site