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Feature: Spooks

Who Do You Trust?

David Oyelowo as Danny Hunter The second season left the Thames House team riven by treachery. But was everything as it seemed? We put the resolve of star David Oyelowo, codename Danny Hunter, to the test in an attempt to discover what happens next.
Will he talk…?

A bit over a year ago, BBC1’s hit spy drama Spooks concluded its second season with one of the best ‘Now get out of that!’ cliff-hangers since Blake’s 7 encountered the first squad of Federation troopers who’d actually been taught to aim. Hero Tom Quinn (Matthew Macfadyen) had either sold out, along with his American girlfriend, or become the victim of a superb scam set up by a vengeful old enemy that had even his friends and colleagues Danny and Zoe convinced of his guilt. Either way, a panicky stand-off with boss Harry Pearce ended with Tom gunning his superior down, before apparently drowning himself off the coast. Now get out of that.

“Yeah, we’ve become very good with our cliffhangers,” comments Spooks star David Oyelowo, aka Danny. “But I don’t think anyone’s going to be prepared for quite how this series unfolds.

“Some of the reason for this, certainly for Matthew bowing out, is us still suffering the ramifications of how we saw the second series end, but it does not go the way anyone has anticipated, and believe me, in the months since the last series went out, I’ve had all people throwing all sorts of speculations my way, and no one’s been right. So it’ll certainly make for a very exciting third series, I think.”

So what inducements have people offered him to spill the beans? “Believe me, everything from sex to money has been thrown my way,” he says, “but I’m contractually obliged not to tell you.”

It is, all the same, clear that something more than met the eye was going on, as Oyelowo’s co-stars Matthew Macfadyen and Peter Firth (Harry) are both alive and apparently well in the new season’s PR shots. Equally, it’s now widely reported that both Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes (Zoe, and also Macfadyen’s real-life girlfriend) will be leaving over the course of season three, which will leave Oyelowo as the last of the series’ original team of field agents. “Yes, that’s true,” the actor admits ruefully, thinking of his new role as de facto leading man of the show. “That is true, but I will carry that flag flying high. It was weird, actually, losing my two buddies.”

As the sole survivor of the original team, following the shocking death of apparent female lead Helen (Lisa Faulkner) in the series’ second episode, and the forcing out of experienced (but corrupt) operative Tessa (Jenny Agutter) later in that first year, Danny’s come a long way from the callow newbie of the first season. “Yeah, very much so,” agrees Oyelowo. “He’s now gained a lot of experience and I also think that’s been accelerated by what he’s had to go through.” In particular, he’s been forced to accept that his friend and mentor Tom might be a traitor.

“That’s kind of the start of the hairline fracture of what we go on to see in the third series. We see him dealing with the loss of his leader, and also the loss of a leader who was beginning to lose faith in the service, and that has a huge impact on him.

by Anthony Brown

Get the full interview in
TV Zone #181

Photo © BBCtv
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #181
October 2004
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