Spooks: A Eulogy

We heard recently that long-running BBC spy-soap Spooks is ending this year. As a fan since the very first episode, I was rather upset to hear the show was finally ending after ten sweet years.

Where else will we get wildly implausible storylines based on a vague understanding of current affairs? What other show will put all their cast through nervous breakdowns as if it’s some compulsory round robin? And surely we can’t just go back to television where lead characters can’t be brutally killed at any time?

Yes, Spooks had its quirky habits, but it provided a decade of reliable action-entertainment, usually with solid actors up front. Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes, Rupert Penry-Jones, Hermione Norris, Richard Armitage and Sophia Myles have all taken roles on Spooks over the years, among many others.

And lest we forget the omnipresent Peter Firth as Harry Pearce, forever gruff, always obsessed by duty, coming back no matter how often he gets framed or loses his faith. Based on the series nine cliffhanger, it looks like this final run will be focusing heavily on Sir Harry, and frankly, good. It’s not as if he hasn’t earned it.

So, yes, I mourn the loss of Spooks because, joking aside, it was a unique beast on the BBC schedules: an undignified merger between spy action and Holby City melodrama. It was a fun show, at times even a really good one, and although I’m glad the producers are ending on their own terms, I think there was life in it yet.

The problem is, British telly has never been that good at action shows that aren’t aimed at children. In fact, if we remove Spooks producers Kudos from the equation (thus excluding Life On Mars, Hustle and the less successful Outcasts), there’s practically nothing. I only hope that, once Spooks breathes its last, something comes along to replace it.

And in the meantime, we can sit back and wonder: Just how many characters will they kill in the final series?

Tags BBC, Spooks
Category Review

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