Thursday, 11 August 2011

SPOOKS to stop after series 10

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Kudos have decided to end their espionage drama Spooks after ten series on the BBC and around the world, aiming to go out on a high rather than let the show dwindle.

Jane Featherstone, production company Kudos:

"I feel very sad about it. It was a very difficult decision to make. But we didn't want to get to the point where the BBC said, 'We don't really want another one,' we wanted to kill it off in its prime."
Ben Stephenson, BBC Drama Commissioning Controller:

"Kudos created a groundbreaking series in Spooks ten years ago that challenged convention with its topical, fast-paced, contemporary style. I hope fans will tune in this September to see what promises to be a fittingly high-octane, thrilling finale."
It’s a laudable decision to end something before it turns stale, which happens more regularly on the BBC because the network's not driven by advertising. Spooks has notoriously killed many of its leads and replaced them with new blood, and this reinvention is credited with keeping the show hovering around the 6m viewers mark for so long. Lisa Faulkner, Matthew Macfadyen, Rupert Penry-Jones, Hermione Norris, and Richard Armitage all played characters who met their end during the show's run.

Spooks is a BBC show I never got into, though. Back when it started I didn't have much faith in contemporary BBC drama, and the show felt like a kneejerk reaction to Fox's smash-hit 24—given the basic premise and similar use of split-screens (which was seen as quite radical in the early-'00s). And, while I understand Spooks benefits from real-world political inspirations, isn't constricted by a real-time format, and can tell multiple stories over its run, I was more entertained by the ruthlessly compelling adventures of CTU's Jack Bauer. Even when 24 fell into self-parody towards the end, Spooks never appealed to me as an alternative. I perhaps missed some great homegrown TV, but you make your choices.

The final series of Spooks will apparently focus on counter-terrorism boss Harry Pearce (Peter Firth), the only original character left on the show. After ten years escaping the icy fingers of death as his colleagues dropped dead around him, is Harry's time finally up?

SPOOKS returns to BBC1 for its tenth and final series in the autumn.