Spooks: Is This The End For Harry?

FILMING began last month on series 10 of Spooks, due on screen this autumn.

It’s now been confirmed that Sophia Myles has left the BBC1 drama after just one series as Beth Bailey.

While an old secret comes back to haunt Harry Pearce, played by Peter Firth.

Will this be the last series of Spooks?

I asked BBC Drama boss Ben Stephenson that very question a few weeks ago.

But his lips were sealed.

The new 2011 series will consist of six episodes, compared to eight last year.

(April 19 update: I have now been on set again during filming of Spooks 10 to interview Peter Firth, Nicola Walker and other members of the cast. As usual, all the material is embargoed until TX in autumn of this year)

Here’s the Kudos production release:

The headlines:

A Decade Of Spooks

And The Spies Face Their Biggest Challenge Yet.

After 10 Years Has Top Spy Harry Pearce Finally Made One Enemy Too Many?

Laura Pulver, Jonathan Hyde, Geoffrey Streatfeild and Alice Krige also join the hit spy drama.

London, 1 April 2011: Celebrating its landmark tenth series, Kudos Film and Television’s critically-acclaimed hit spy drama, Spooks, is back in production and will return to BBC One later this year.

Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) has spent 10 years walking the corridors of Thames House and dodging threats, but as Spooks celebrates a decade on our screens, the future of the MI5 chief is in jeopardy.  A huge secret, hidden deep in his past emerges, threatening to destroy him and those close to him. Will Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker), the woman he loves, stand by him, or is this the end for Harry? And, more importantly, can Section D survive without its leader?
As tensions rise in the Middle East and the UK’s special relationship with America falters, Britain is forced to befriend the new heavyweights on the global scene, none more so than Russia, forcing Harry to revisit old relationships made during the Cold War. Is it time for him to confront his demons and head back into the cold? Will he be able to return?  Nothing can be taken for granted in this shocking and gripping drama that has consistently remained at the top of its game for a decade; a feat rarely achieved by a British drama series.
Simon Crawford Collins, Executive Producer Kudos Film and Television, said: “The heart of the show for the last 10 years has been Harry Pearce and his increasingly thwarted relationship with the wonderful Ruth. In Harry and Ruth, Peter and Nicola have created two of the most subtle and engaging characters in TV drama today and this series will take them both on a very unexpected journey. We hope it will be unmissable television.”
In keeping with the secrecy you would expect around Spooks, producers are keeping tight-lipped about storylines, but they have revealed a host of new characters joining the spy drama.  While the team has been left reeling from Lucas North’s betrayal, and with Beth Bailey decommissioned, Section D has a new leader. Erin Watts, played by Lara Pulver (True Blood, Robin Hood) is ambitious, hungry and determined to make her mark. 
A new IT supremo, Calum Reed, played by Geoffrey Streatfeild (Ashes to Ashes, Above Suspicion: Deadly Intent), also joins Dimitri (Max Brown), Tariq (Shazad Latif) and Ruth on The Grid and the maverick proves more than a match for Tariq when it comes to computer wizardry.
The new series of the high-octane drama also welcomes Alice Krige (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Deadwood) and acting stalwart Jonathan Hyde (Titanic, Jumanji , The Mummy) to the cast.  In addition, Simon Russell Beale (Much Ado About Nothing, An Ideal Husband) reprises his role as the Home Secretary.
Christopher Aird, BBC, said: “Spooks is consistently one of the most intelligent, entertaining and action packed shows on television. It is testament to the huge talent of the creative team over the years that the 10th series is in production. We are very excited; the 10th series of Spooks will deliver everything its devoted fans expect and much they do not!”
Spooks is a Kudos Film and Television production for BBC One filming in London until mid June 2011.  It was commissioned by Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One and Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning.  Spooks is produced by Chris Fry and executive produced by Simon Crawford Collins, Jane Featherstone and Howard Burch for Kudos Film and Television.  Acting for the BBC are Sarah Brandist and Christopher Aird.

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34 responses to “Spooks: Is This The End For Harry?

  1. Presumably, as the final season before the 2012 Olympics, it has to be the last Spooks. Or are they going to ignore that most of London gets destroyed in a nuclear blast…

  2. Pingback: Spooks : There will be a Series 10

  3. Michael Forde

    Once again, Ian, another incisive piece of journalism, revealing, but still leaving me on tenterhooks, thank you

  4. Rosemary

    I suspect it might be – and the end for the series, which, if it manages to maintain the extraordinarily high level of the last 10 years, would actually seem to me to perhaps be the right time. I know Spooks has renewed its character base successfully time and time again, but I really do think it would be impossible to replace Peter Firth, should he leave. He is Harry Pearce, and I can’t imagine the Grid without him.

    Very happy to know that Simon Russell Beale is back. None of the other names are familiar to me, but I am now off in haste to look them up. Just one question. Has Beth been decommissioned off-screen, or did I miss it happening in the last series?

    Thank you for a lot of food for thought!

    • No, you didn’t miss it Rosemary. I ‘m told she does not appear at all in the new series so I presume it’s simply something referred to in the first ep.

  5. Jodie

    Such mixed emotions running through me on this. Thrilled that Harry finally has the story arc, scared for his character, what will truly happen between Ruth and Harry as well. Sad at the thought this is the end yet knowing the show should end on a high. Better get out my tissues now!!

  6. I am intrigued by your choice of title for this piece. As far as I am concerned, no Harry = no Spooks!!! So Kudos / BBC shouldn’t even consider for one second that they can have a replacement for Harry if Series 11 is given the go ahead later on this year. You know what they say about Spooks fans – we’re the most loyal, we’re the most thorough, and there is absolutely no hesitation in us getting out our pitchforks and demonstrating outside the offices of Kudos and/or the BBC. Some of us have been known to fly half way across the world just to make a point!

    • I obviously took the title from a typical Spooks teaser line in the Kudos press release. I ‘d be surprised if anyone involved in the production of Spooks would contemplate carrying on without Sir Harry. IE I’d expect Peter Firth and Spooks to bow out at the same time when the series comes to its final end – whenever that may be.

      • Just to be sure, Ian, that would be six one-hour episodes? There’s no hope of six one-and-a-half episodes? (asks she hopefully) 🙂

  7. LouLaBelle

    Series 10 is the last ever series of Spooks. I can 100% confirm that. No questions asked. So watch, enjoy and then keep an eye out for the next gritty series that Kudos will, no doubt, come up with.

  8. Lynn

    Thanks for the blog, Ian. It’s nice to get some confirmation of what’s happening in S10. Plus, of course, a few teasers. Shame it’s only 6 episodes but that’s better than none at all. Can’t say I’m entirely sure who all the new names are but I shall do some Googling.


  9. Aria

    No mention of Vincent Regan (Alec) in the Press Release which is a pity. Thanks for the months of endless speculation!!

  10. Lucy

    Thanks so much for the update, Ian. No real surprise about the 6 episodes, but if the production quality is as high as ever, they will be 6 brilliant hours of TV. I will miss the show enormously, but should this end up being the last series, I do think it is bowing out at the right time.

    I had the pleasure of seeing some filming in London yesterday, and the cast and crew were delightful. 🙂

  11. Maritza

    Only 6 eps;this speaks for itself.Not much cash was spent on the last 3 series, and it showed.The new cast additions;Jonathan Hyde;very charismatic.Geoffrey Streatfield;mostly a theatre actor;will have been cheap.Lara Pulver;oh dear.She was bad in Robin Hood;all staring eyes and lockjaw.She hasn`t been seen in anything really prominent since.I see this as a bargain basement cast to round the franchise off.Any prospect of reasonable storylines?The last 3 series have been laughable.

    • Hmm, some very strong views you’ve expressed there, Maritza, and not altogether polite where actors’ salaries and abilities are concerned. Whether or not certain actors came cheap matters only to the producers. High priced actors may not always deliver the goods. Such a pity your views are not reflected by the general public, because as far as I know, viewing figures have held steady over the last three series. At least it got you watching – I assume you have been watching, otherwise you wouldn’t have come up with a statement like “the last 3 series have been laughable”.

    • kaprekar

      Lara Pulver has been in True Blood in the US since Robin Hood – I’d call that rather prominent.

      • Archer

        Actually, True Blood is trash and everyone knows it. It only gets strong ratings because of Young America’s current obsession with vampires.

  12. Pingback: Varia and on blogging at the moment « Me + Richard Armitage

  13. Gary Hawkins

    Thank you for the information, I must say that I am disappointed its only six episodes. I do agree with the following comments that the last three years have not been as good as the previous seven. I think it was down to actors leaving the show after one or two seasons. I will miss Spooks dearly as for me its the best show BBC and Kudos have ever done. Thank god for the DVD’s as I watch them over and over again. At present I am on the tail end of season two. Thank you again for your information.

  14. Pingback: Spooks Season 10: Latest Intel April 2011 | spooks fan blog

  15. Maritza

    I don`t have a Sky subscription, so I watch alot of BBC material.This show has deteriorated markedly from the beginning;the scripts used to be character-based.Then we got the action-is everything mantra.Apparently the scripts are tampered with right until the last minute, which explains the anomalies and lack of continuity.This is the same production company which gave us The Fixer and Outcasts;which should speak for itself.

  16. Anon

    I have no idea how much he costs but Geoffrey Streatfeild is SUPERB. Being a ‘theatre actor’ does, after all, mean significant training and experience at RADA and the RSC. I’m delighted he’s joined the cast.

  17. Sally

    A great article, lots of interesting teasers for S10. I’d like to add my voice to those who’ll miss Spooks if this is does prove to be the last series, although I agree it’s best to go out on a high… and seeing as how there seems to be widespread agreement there could be no Spooks without Harry then 10 years is probably a fair enough timespan for an actor to commit to any given character and series. Quoting Harry himself, ‘time and tide’…

  18. Penny

    I agree, I LOVE Mr Streatfield. He is a wonderful actor and has an understated charisma. Another charming and handsome “mature” man for the cast. Suits me :)! Jonathan Hyde is also always a pleasure to watch. I can’t wait for series 10.

  19. Fiona Caton-Jones

    I don’t mean to be unkind, but have to agree a bit with the above poster about who they are casting now, and whether or not this might be a cheapie cost move. Look at the people they’ve had before…top people who were in everything important–they had to be commanding good salaries: Rupert PJ, Richard Armitage, Hermoine, Glenister, Gemma Jones, Jenny Agutter, Hugh Laurie, Anna Chancellor, Lindsay Duncan, Keeley, MacFayden, Oyewolo–etc etc. All TOP people in film, major tv and the theatre. Now? All gone. Sure, some fine actors involved as guests and main characters. But nobody who could fit in these probably highly paid tier of legendary actors. Last season was a wasteland of good supporting characters. Their casting budget looked decimated…and it showed.

    • Rosemary

      In reply to Fiona Caton-Jones, you make an intriguing point. I had come to the same conclusion about the casting in the last series. There was a massive and at times rather embarrassing difference – in acting ability between Peter Firth, Richard Armitage and Nicola Walker on the one hand and Sophia Myles, Max Brown and Vincent Regan on the other. I had not, however, ascribed it to cost. I wondered whether it wasn’t more the result of a misguided attempt to increase the appeal of the programme to a younger audience, especially in the case of Myles and Brown. They had the film-star looks, but couldn’t match up to the other three in either experience or talent. I don’t know Lara Pulver, but she seems to come rather from the same genre. But you make a good point in that it may be due to shrinking budgets. Although if that is the case, one wonders how they managed to hire and retain Simon Russell Beale….

    • kaprekar

      Yes but many of those established actors you list were only guests or in a small number of episodes, or were established actors not “stars”, or Spooks was a rung on their way to stardom.

      • Maritza

        Quite so.Rupert Penry-Jones, and especially Richard Armitage,did not have extensive or really significant theatre or film careers.This could change, of course.My favourite eye candy spook was Rupert.Armitage didn`t do it for me in the acting stakes at all.I`m very surprised at Max Brown`s retention;he was wooden in this and The Tudors, with little or no screen presence whatsoever.

  20. Ali

    I am so sad to have to agree this will be the last season. There will have to be some sort of resolve between Ruth and Harry this season– either them being together forever or not at all. Kudos can’t string out this relationship/not relationship any longer. A happy ending would be Harry and Ruth retiring and living happily ever after, however this is Spooks, not Disney so that’s very doubtful. Having this show with out their messed up love would be like having it without Harry… impossible. Also this season having only 6 episodes makes me think its a wrap up since the first season only had 6 as well. With Harry’s future with the service being a bit murky I have to agree that it may be time for the show to end; as much as I hate it it seems appropriate. :'((

  21. Ross

    Thoroughly looking forward. It’s shame Sophia Myles has left, without even reason why. I thought she and Max made a good team. I have a gut feeling this will be the last Spooks, which I really hope not.

    And anyone who thinks of Spooks Code 9 or admits to liking it should be shot.

    • Maritza

      I don`t think it`s a reflection on her ability; I thought she was more animated than Miranda Raison.Perhaps cash is rearing it`s head; she`s a more experienced, and probably more expensive actress, having worked in films and US TV. Another Kudos show,Hustle, is being “rested”.And yes, the Code 9 show was hateworthy.

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