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Spooks (BBC-1 2002-2011, Keeley Hawes, Matthew Macfadyen)

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Spy drama series Spooks about an MI5 (which is what the show is called in the US) team led by Tom Quinn. The second episode was notably effective when a seemingly regular character (played by Lisa Faulkner) was killed off in a grisly manner in a situation where a last-minute-save would have been normal. Unusually none of the episodes featured any cast or production credits either at the start or the end.

Series 3 commenced 11 October 2004. Series 4 commenced 12 September 2005. Season five underwent quite a few cast changes and stepped things up a notch with a Britain on the brink of crisis and with what looks to be a plot to bring down the government from within the upper echelons of power itself.

High flying M15 officer Ros Myers is drafted in to take a main role on the grid and stir up the pot with Adam. Big plot developments saw threats to the prime ministers son, a key plotline has Peter providing the Saudis with nuclear technology in exchange for oil, Ruth becoming the target for a fit up and there is a possible informant in the ranks of the members of the grid. Guest actors included Robert Glenister, John Castle, Cheryl Campbell, Saskia Reeves and Matt Day.

Season six marked another change with an attempt at a single story arc across the 10 episodes of the season with the team at the heart of an attempt by the UK government to broker a peace deal in Tehran. Not only that another major character (Zaf) met with an untimely death.

Season seven saw Ros running the show and there was also a shift towards more cold war style stories with the Russians, whilst season 8 opened with series Lynchpin Harry Pearce being kidnapped and a storyline about long held secret about a secret cache of deadly weapons bound for iraq just before the Americans invaded.

Spooks Season Six

Spooks Season Six

The show and its clever style of filming has been a huge influence on much drama that has followed, it’s always strong stuff that doesn’t shy away from covering the big issues either. Obviously given the fact that it has had such a long run the cast has changed quite a bit over the years. Peter Firth remained constant throughout and main stars for the first three seasons Matthew McFadyen and Keeley Hawes end up becoming an item and later married.

The series had a spin off called Spooks: Code 9 and 2015 saw a big screen outing called Spooks: The Greater Good. Kit Harington from Game of Thrones starred alongside Peter Firth and it nicely captured the feel of the series but stood as a strong spy thriller in it’s own right.

production details
UK / BBC-1 – Kudos / 88×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 13 May 2002 – 23 October 2011

Creator: David Wolstencroft / Composer: Paul Leonard Morgan / Executive Producers: Simon Crawford Collins, Jane Featherstone

cast
MATTHEW MACFADYEN as Tom Quinn (to season 3)
KEELEY HAWES as Zoe Reynolds (to season 3)
DAVID OYELOWO as Danny Hunter
PETER FIRTH as Harry Pearce
JENNY AGUTTER as Teresa Phillips
RUPERT PENRY-JONES as Adam Carter (seasons 3-7)
MIRANDA RAISON as Jo Portman (from series 4)
RAZAS JAFFREY as Zafar Younis
NICOLA WALKER as Ruth Evershed
ANNA CHANCELLOR as Juliet Shaw
HUGH SIMON as Malcom Wynn-Davies
RORY MACGREGOR as Colin Wells
GEMMA JONES as Connie (from season six)
SOPHIA MYLES as Beth Bailey (2010)
HERMIONE NORRIS as Ros Myers (2006-2009)
RICHARD ARMITAGE as Lucas North (2008-2010)

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TV

Ape And Essence (The Wednesday Play BBC-1 1966, Alec McCowen)

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In Scifi drama Ape and Essence, based on the novel by Aldous Huxley, a group of New Zealand scientists conduct a survey on a Britain ravaged by atomic war 80 years previously.

Series: The Wednesday Play Season 2 Episode 29

cast
Alec McCowen as Alfred Poole
Robert Eddison as Arch Vicar
Derek Sydney as Chief
Jenny Lee as Flossie
Yvonne Antrobus as Young Girl
Sydney Bromley as Craigie
Martin Carroll as Director of Food
Hazel Douglas as Mies Hook
John Falconer as Patriarch
Petra Markham as Loola
Ken Parry as Science Praet
Amanda Reiss as Polly
Jonathan Scott as Int. Priest
Fiona Fraser as Part of Crowd
Ann Mitchell as Shaven-Head
Jacki Salt as Mulatto Girl
Carol Blake as Shaven-Head
Gordon Craig as Part of Crowd
Robert Cude as First Man

crew details
Writer: John Finch
Book: Aldous Huxley
Music: BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Producer: Peter Luke
Director: David Benedictus.

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC One
Duration: 1×75 minute episode
Aired From: 18 May 1966

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Plane Makers, The (ITV 1963-1965, Patrick Wymark, Barbara Murray)

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Plane Makers Patrick Wymark

Drama series The Plane Makers took us behind the scenes in the boardroom and shop floor of the Scott Furlong Aircraft Factory. After two seasons the lead character John Wilder took a place on the board of a merchant bank and the series was then renamed The Power Game.

cast
Patrick Wymark as John Wilder
Jack Watling as Don Henderson
Barbara Murray as Pamela Wilder (Seasons 1-2)
Ann Firbank as Pamela Wilder (Season 3)
Reginald Marsh as Arthur Sugden
Alan Dobie as David Corbett

crew details
Creator: Wilfred Greatorex
Producers: Rex Firkin (seasons 1-2), David Reid (season 3)

production details
Country: UK
Network: ITV – ATV
Duration: 57×50 minute episodes
Aired From: 4 February 1963 – 12 January 1965 black and white

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Running Wild (ITV 1987, Ray Brooks, Janet Key)

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Sitcom Running Wild was about the ups and downs of separated couple, Max and Babs, trying to get on with their lives. In season two Max wants to return to his wife but Babs is not so keen.

cast
Ray Brooks as Max Wild
Janet Key as Babs Wild
Sharon Duce as Wanda
Michelle Collins as Stephanie Wild
Peter Amory as Rob
Berwick Kaler as Tom Coleman (Season 1)
Brigit Forsyth as Jenny (Season 2)

crew details
Writer: Philip Trewinnard
Producers: Marcus Plantin (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)
Directors: Vic Finch (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: ITV – London Weekend Television
Duration: 13×25 minute episodes
Aired From: 6 March 1987 – 4 June 1989

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