The spies have it

Aller en bas

The spies have it

Message  Luce le Mar 26 Mai 2009 - 16:19

Par Jeff Dawson (RadioTimes, 31 mai 2003).
[Couverture scannée, merci à SMM][3 pages scannées, merci à SMM]
Spy Drama
Spooks Weekend (first series re-run) Saturday, Sunday UK Gold / Spooks (second series) Mondays BBC1

Do TV spies know things that the security services don't? Just look at this series of Spooks, says Jeff Dawson. Photograph by Colin Bell
Is there anything sexier than a secret agent? Martinis to be shaken, loins to be stirred And, if thwarting those damned evildoers isn't enough, a chap can always retreat to the penthouse, unscrew his silencer and indulge himself in Pussy Galore. Hurrah!
At the height of the Cold War, while James Bond and Harry Palmer romped across the silver screen, our TVs were also overrun with operatives keeping the British end up-from The Avengers to Dangerman, Callan and The Prisoner. II was a simple world. We were "us”,they were "them”, and if, mysteriously, your classification was suddenly flagged up "pinko", well, comrade, they'd whisk you off to Portmeirion for some fairy cake and a number two.
Sadly, as the Berlin Wall crumbled and Russian gangsters and Colombian druglords became the grubby new bêtes noires ; the days when Patrick Macnee could defend the realm armed only with a Savile Row bowler, an umbrella and a glass of champers no longer seemed credible. But then along came September 11, the world changed, and our chums from the cloak-and-dagger department got well and truly rehabilitated.
On the nightly news, national security is an obsession ; the intelligence services are now our brave new heroes; and, at the cinema and on the TV, after the wilderness years of glasnost, the spies have come back in from the cold. With Minority Report, Bad Company, The Sum of All Fears, Spy Came, The Bourne Identity, xXx and The Recruit all on cinema release in the past year, you've barely been able to move for all the wholesome hunks going undercover (and, quite often, getting it blown)
When Her Majesty's Secret Servant Rowan Atkinson muscles in on the action in Johnny English, you know this thing runs deep. On TV, 24 is a phenomenon, Alias is doing just nicely, and if you want some kind of historical perspective, Cambridge Spies will give you a thorough debriefing.
But nothing has done more for the image of the clandestine chappy than the much lauded Spooks. This summer, fresh from its Bafta triumph for best drama series of 2002, it plunges its corps of MI5 slicksters right back into the field. Its inception was actually rather serendipitous.
"l was making notes for a film on the subject of secrecy," explains David Wolstencroft, the co-creator. "The Sopranos had just started all about work and families and the secrets they have-and I just hit on espionage as an interesting area to look at, the practicalities of what it would be like to be one of these people, day-in and day-out."
By the very nature of the subject, he had to use his imagination. There was no walking into MI5 for a quick look round. Inspiration came from everywhere - the snazzy, open-plan office with its jargon of "backstop" and "jammers" is an entirely fictitious creation, but "having been in the BBC quite a lot, I wondered whether it wasn't quite a good model", he says.
“The BBC and, by inference, New Labour. There was a little bit of sly winking in that."
Whether or not the BBC has similarities to the secret service, its switchboard is still smoking from the calls that followed the death of major character Helen (Lisa Faulkner) in only the second episode (you know, the one with the deep-fat fryer-see overleaf), so Spooks would have succeeded, regardless of the political climate. Throw in its quota of moral dilemmas and burning issues to be tackled during the coming weeks, and the subject matter makes it seen sharper than the creases in its Armani couture.
That infamous episode, for instance, dealt with the business of human trafficking. "We went straight from the end of the show into the tell o'clock news, where the top item was 'Harder line on immigration'," recalls Wolstencroft. "Because we don't have end credits [another quirk], it looked as if newsreader Peter Sissons had been hired by us. That sort of synchronicity is extraordinary."
Of course, there are disavowers. The likes of MI5 "Deep Throat" David Shayler have been all too critical of the saucing-up of what is,essentially,still a crusty adjunct of the Home Office-all tea and biscuits, Old Etonians and Byzantine bureaucracy. Sadly, post-Stella Rimington openness not with standing, no mole from MI5 (or, hey, nowadays, just "Five" -dig, baby?) will either confirm or deny the reality of what goes on within those walls. (MI5's own website insists however that, contrary to rumours, you can't be fired for revealing the colour of the carpets at its grand riverside HQ. They're blue, by the way.)
But perhaps MI5 should be grateful for the exposure. For, after years of being portrayed as nefarious dirty tricksters, they have-like their American cousins, the freshly spring-cleaned CIA-suddenly become the good guys. Defenders of the realm, no less; keepers of the faith.
"It's the first time we've had [MI5] people who are heroic," says Wolstencroft. 'Tom [Matthew Macfadyen] is genuinely heroic. He really does believe what he's doing is good, and he's prepared to sacrifice his personal happiness for that."
Indeed, since the advent of Spooks, applications for MIS have soared. The candidates are not always special-op material. 'There was a lot of trepidation about creating an impression of the service where it's all gung-ho and confirm or deny the reality of what goes on within those walls. (MI5's own website insists however that, contrary to rumours, you can't be fired for revealing the colour of the carpets at its grand riverside HQ. They're blue, by the way.)
But perhaps MI5 should be grateful for the exposure. For, after years of being portrayed as nefarious dirty tricksters, they have-like their American cousins, the freshly spring-cleaned CIA-suddenly become the good guys. Defenders of the realm, no less; keepers of the faith.
"It's the first time we've had [MI5] people who are heroic," says Wolstencroft. 'Tom [Matthew Macfadyen] is genuinely heroic. He really does believe what he's doing is good, and he's prepared to sacrifice his personal happiness for that."
Indeed, since the advent of Spooks, applications for MIS have soared. The candidates are not always special-op material. 'There was a lot of trepidation about creating an impression of the service where it's all gung-ho and driving round in fast cars and breaking into houses," says Mike Nolan, group director of MIS's recruitment consultants. Bartlett Scott Edgar. "That excites a lot of very strange people out there."
But with applications up from 70 per day to 130 and hits on the MIS website leaping from 6,000 per week to 10,000, never has interest in the service been so high. ("After the fryer episode, there was a great increase in response from vegetarians," says Nolan. "Some odd things came through from that.") With a civil service entry salary of £19,000, a Mandelsonian lifestyle will have to wait, though. Truth is, you'll probably be sorting paper clips. Still, you can't help but sense a glow of satisfaction emanating from somewhere in the bowels of Whitehall (which, conspiracy theorists might argue, is all part of the grand design).
And now the really interesting thing: every single one of the current TV shows and movies listed previously- Spooks and all was set in motion well before the events of September 11. With the "creative types" behind them seemingly so prescient, is it any wonder that. In the States at least, the Pentagon has already recruited TV executives film directors and the likes of thriller author Tom Clancy on to their think-tanks, pummelling them for scenarios of what might happen next?
They should relax, says Wolstencroft. The plethora of spy-related dramas and movies (September 11 or not) is simply a response to confusing times - "a combination of millennial angst feeding into some form of geopolitical paranoia," he says.
"I think everyone was aware of the dangers 9/11 suddenly ruptured. There used to be that sense of Russians under the bed. They still are under the bed. but they're there with a lot of other people. September 11 certainly gave us a responsibility - we're very keen not to take advantage oft he ripples of that event. We've placed Spooks in the context of a post-September 11 world, without specifically dealing with it."
The folks from Spooks, adds Wolstencroft, have yet to be "tapped". "But," he quips, "l have been asked to design Gordon Brown's new kitchen ... "

Links www.bbc.co.uk/Spooks
RT SHOP
The Bafta-winning first series of Spooks is available in a three-DVD set for £26.99 (RRP £29.99) and a video twin pack for just £18.99 (RRP £19.99). To order, please state which format you require and send a cheque or postal order, payable to Choices Direct, to: RTVideo Shop, Ref RADT90 I 3, PO Box 190, Peterborough, PE2 6UW or call the order line on 01733 230500 and quote reference RADT90I3. All prices include postage and packaging.
Caption
THE BIG CLIFFHANGER
Spooks ended with us all holding our breaths (and if you missed it, the entire first series is being re-run this weekend on UK Gold). What happens next? Find out this Monday on BBC One.

Agent Tom Quinn (Matthew Macfadyen) has had his house sealed to prevent terrorist reprisals, but inside his laptop has been booby-trapped with a bomb, and his girlfriend and her daughter are trapped inside...
avatar
Luce
Fan extraordinaire
Fan extraordinaire

Nombre de messages : 4957
Age : 66
Localisation : Toulouse ou ailleurs
Date d'inscription : 11/03/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

Re: The spies have it

Message  Luce le Mar 26 Mai 2009 - 16:49

Un premier encadré, toujours dans le RadioTimes du 31 mai 2003.
SPOOKY!!! FICTION OR FACT?

OK, so ultimately Spooks is a bunch of great stories. But not, it seems, a bunch of fairy tales: in the first series, the production team found time and again that plots they had worked on for months had a way of predicting real events. One episode was about race issues. "and on the night it was broadcast," says executive producer Jane Featherstone, "the ten o'clock news followed with a story about race riots. A number of times items in the news seemed frighteningly to mirror what had happened on screen." So will the new series be just as accurate in predicting tomorrow's headlines? Already some storylines, including poisonous-gas explosions in the centre of London, a visit by the US president and Islamic extremism, have found echoes in actual news events. Scarily, there may be more ... the real MI5 should be watching. Series co-creator David Wolstencroft and one of the writers, Howard Brenton, explain how they do it...

FICTION
EPISODE TWO, FILMED OCTOBER 2002
The mullah of a Birmingham mosque is suspected of extremist activities." I didn't worry about causing offence," explains Howard Brenton. "What I wanted to do was create an Islamic hero at the centre of the story. His name is Khaldun, and I took that because one of the greatest pieces of medieval Islamic literature was written by a man with that name." It's easy to leap to conclusions, he says. "In all cultures there's a struggle between light and dark. Christianity's certainly had it."
FACT
JANUARY 2003 Uncannily,the episode (left) was shot three months before the police raid on the Finsbury Park mosque in north London to look for evidence of terrorist activity, which was followed by calls to strip Abu Hamza (the radical mullah of that mosque, above) of his citizenship and expel him for preaching his extreme opinions.

FICTION
EPISODE FIVE, FILMED JAN 2003 The episode portrays a nightmare security scenario - germ warfare in central London. "I won't give anything away about that, because it's one hell of a plot, except that we made it with extreme care," says Brenton. All the information for this episode, he insists, is totally credible. The topic easily worries people, so it's no time for the imagination to go into overdrive. "If we're going to entertain people with that [germ warfare], you don't want to make things up. It's scary enough, so everything is accurate."
FACT
JANUARY 2003 Intriguingly,the programme was shot at exactly the same time as the occupants of a flat in Wood Green, north London, were arrested on suspicion of having been making ricin, a deadly toxin that can kill in the tiniest quantities. Media reports suggested the makers might have been planning to release some into the London Underground.

FICTION
EPISODE SIX, FILMED FEB 2003. The arrival of the US president triggers shenanigans that threaten the special relationship. "When Blair meets Bush I want to know what's going on," says David Wolstencroft. "I wanted to lift the lid on what it must be like behind the scenes of a presidential visit - the security service getting involved, the CIA, the way that plays out in terms of personal relationships as well. In the espionage community, there's friendship. but there can't be trust. It was the most fun I've ever had writing a script,"
FACT
APRIL2003 The episode was shot two months before US president George Bush met Prime Minister Tony Blair at Hillsborough Castle to review their military and diplomatic strategy. It was Bush's first visit to Northern Ireland, and an extremely rare visit to the UK (he was last over here two years ago). Yet again, Spooks uncannily prefigured real-life events.
avatar
Luce
Fan extraordinaire
Fan extraordinaire

Nombre de messages : 4957
Age : 66
Localisation : Toulouse ou ailleurs
Date d'inscription : 11/03/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

Re: The spies have it

Message  Luce le Mar 26 Mai 2009 - 17:05

Deuxième encadré.

SURPRISE!!! TV DRAMA'S NASTIEST SHOCKS

It's far harder to shock TV viewers today, but Spooks did it by shoving Lisa Faulkner's head in a deep-fat fryer (left). How many of these unexpected moments do you remember?

THE FIRM (1988)
It was a TV movie about football violence, so no one expected an easy ride. However, a small child sucking on a Stanley knife made jaws drop

HOUSE OF CARDS (1990)
Ian Richardson wasn't exactly playing a good guy in House of Cards, but viewers were shocked as he pushed a journalist off a roof and on to a van

CRACKER (1993)
Christopher Eccleston (inset) was a regular, so he couldn't be killed in a vicious attack by Robert Carlyle (above, right), but he was slowly... and painfully

24 (2002)
It was the last episode of the first series and 24 should have been just neatly tying up loose ends. But no surprisingly our hero's wife was killed off

ER (2003)
It was well known that something grizzly was going to happen in ER, but no one was prepared for a helicopter taking off Romano's arm so spectacularly
avatar
Luce
Fan extraordinaire
Fan extraordinaire

Nombre de messages : 4957
Age : 66
Localisation : Toulouse ou ailleurs
Date d'inscription : 11/03/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

Re: The spies have it

Message  Contenu sponsorisé


Contenu sponsorisé


Revenir en haut Aller en bas

Revenir en haut


 
Permission de ce forum:
Vous ne pouvez pas répondre aux sujets dans ce forum