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24 September 2014
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Rupert Penry-Jones, Keeley Hawes and David Oyelowo in Spooks

Out of the shadows and back in the spotlight - Spooks returns for a third series on BBC ONE this autumn

Principal cast - biographies

Matthew Macfadyen (Tom Quinn)


The quintessential modern spy, Tom has always been at the heart of the original MI5 team. But now he's on the outside, fighting for his professional life.


"Tom is in a dark place," explains Matthew Macfadyen.


"He comes back solely to clear his name and be revenged, but there's part of him that's lost enthusiasm. And Zoe, Danny and Harry turn their backs on him, so he's lost their trust.


"He's pretending to be a good spy, but he's kidding himself. He can't be cold, switch off. He makes errors and can't do his job any more. He knows the game's up.


"Dramatically it would have been odd with both Adam and Tom staying, but I'm glad that we see the characters achieve an understanding. It's much more interesting than seeing two alpha males constantly competing to be the best."


Tom's departure marks the end of a three-year run for Matthew.


"At the beginning I didn't think in terms of how long it would go on for," he says.


"But it was very sad, very odd to go. Inevitably you feel quite proprietorial and think how can they be carrying on without me?


"But I also thought what else can you do with Tom? In two series he suffered quite a lot and it was really time to go."


Matthew is currently filming a new movie adaptation of Pride & Prejudice in which he stars as Mr Darcy.

Keeley Hawes (Zoe Reynolds)


The second original team member, Zoe's spy credentials are impeccable. But she is deeply troubled by Tom's apparent treachery.


"Tom's behaviour has a big impact on Zoe," says Keeley Hawes. "She thinks the worst of him, she's completely convinced that he's a traitor.


"But no-one expects Tom to go. It doesn't hit Zoe quite so hard as Danny because things are going so well in her personal life, and her relationship with Danny suffers as a result.


"Zoe's immediate reaction to Adam's arrival is dislike. Anyone who takes over from Tom is going to have a hard time.


"She thinks he's a bit of a wide boy and he really has to earn her respect... which eventually he does.


"In this series you get more of a sense of Zoe away from work and it made it more interesting for me, more exciting and much more of a challenge, getting away from the grid and being in different locations."


Keeley is about to start filming the new Michael Winterbottom movie, Tristram Shandy, co-starring Steve Coogan.


David Oyelowo (Danny Hunter)


Another original team member, Danny is young, sharp and on the make. But as the new series opens, his confidence has taken a serious knock.


"The biggest change for Danny is Tom's disappearance," explains David Oyelowo.


"Tom is very much Danny’s mentor, so it shakes his faith in the service. The reverberations of that carry on throughout the whole series.


"When Tom leaves there's a massive void. Danny and Zoe become much closer because they've gone through something together, and Zoe feels for him but isn't in love with him. Their emotional lives bleed into their working lives, but for her there's someone else."

Since completing Spooks David has taken up temporary residence in LA where he is currently filming a new movie, Spice of Life, with fellow Spooks cast member Anupam Kher (Harakat).

Peter Firth (Harry Pearce)


Harry Pearce's name is synonymous with the fight against terrorism at MI5. A keen intellect and uncompromising nature set him apart.


But his ability never to let his emotions cloud his judgement is tested to the limit in the wake of Tom's disappearance.


"Harry also has to mount a defence against political interference in MI5," says Peter Firth, "and that agenda is not the well-being of the country over the well-being of political aims.


"The services have entered the public consciousness far more in the last two years. You never used to hear about MI5 but now spooks is a word that's entered the vocabulary and people know what it means.


"I'm sure life at MI5 isn't exactly how we portray it, we glamorise it, but we provide a window into a world that is effectively secret and closed. We humanise it, give a face to the faceless.


"The motives of these people are unquestionable. I respect anyone who has a commitment that is so great, they dedicate their lives to it."


Peter is currently in Canada filming a new Disney movie, The Greatest Game Ever Played.

Rupert Penry-Jones (Adam Carter)


An enigmatic natural performer, Adam Carter is in his perfect job. After years in MI6 he has confronted his demons and become a ruthless pragmatist.


He has the power to push himself and his colleagues to the edge to get the job done – then pick up the pieces.


This combination of strength and compassion, alongside his absolute belief in the intelligence service, make Adam a formidable leader.


His MI6 wife, Fiona, is his greatest stimulus. They compete, partly on a professional level and partly because they know that their life is a constant battle to hold the other's interest.

Yet beneath it all, Adam dreams of sharing a stable home life with his wife and child, hence the move to MI5.


As the newest recruit to MI5, Rupert Penry-Jones was conscious of joining a well-established team both on-screen and off although he already knew some of the existing cast.


"I'd worked at the RSC with David (Oyelowo), knew Matthew and had worked at the National Theatre with Nicola (Walker).


"I don't think Adam starts out thinking he's going to be part of the gang, he doesn't try to do that. Coming into the show I felt like an outsider; Adam’s the same.


"The cast were like a family, and so were the characters. I was the new boy, and it felt like that in the scripts, too."


Although Rupert has played an on-screen spy before (Cambridge Spies), Spooks represented a completely different world.


"An officer could be walking along discussing a life and death situation and people are all around, going about their normal lives and oblivious to it.


"In the same way, when we're filming and doing a long shot, I'm maybe walking over a bridge surrounded by hundreds of people, and they have no idea what I'm doing.


"There's that feeling of separation, and reality becomes surreal. It's as though our characters escape into the real world, you're not really part of society."



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