From Sherwood Forest to Thames House ... Richard Armitage joins the cast of hit BBC One drama Spooks
The UK's favourite team of spies are gaining a new member in the form of Richard Armitage, who joins Rupert Penry-Jones, Hermione Norris and Peter Firth on the Grid for series seven of Spooks on BBC One, which began filming in and around London earlier this month.
Richard's continuing role as the dastardly Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, not to mention a string of starring roles in such hit shows as The Vicar Of Dibley, Marie Lloyd and North & South, have made him a firm favourite among viewers and he is sure to win a new legion of fans in his role as MI5 officer Lucas North.
Having spent the past eight years in a Russian prison, Lucas is welcomed back by MI5 supremo and old friend Harry Pearce, who was instrumental in finally securing his release.
Lucas is keen to get back to work straight away and, with Section D's current priority operation having a strong Russian connection, he could well prove invaluable. But, after eight years with only a high ranking Russian spymaster for company, can Lucas's loyalty really be taken for granted?
Richard said: "Joining Spooks is a fantastic opportunity and I'm particularly pleased to be playing the hero for a change! Lucas North is certainly a nicer piece of work than Guy of Gisborne, although he does have a dark side too. Plus I'll be able to get out of wearing head-to-toe leather for this role, unless of course I didn't read the small print..."
Katie Swinden, producer of Spooks, continues: "Richard is a fantastic addition to the Spooks team; he has that dark and brooding quality which make him perfect for the role of Lucas North.
"Lucas's experiences in Russia have helped make him a hardened spy, but the difficulties he faces in coming home to the life he left behind and to the Russian ex-wife he still loves will also be a feature of this series. I am convinced that this complex and intriguing character will be a hit with viewers."
Spooks fans will also be excited to see how Ros Myers (Hermione Norris) has managed to find her way back to the Grid having faked her own death, and how Adam Carter (Rupert Penry-Jones) has recovered from his traumatic capture by mercenaries at the end of series six.
Jo Portman's (Miranda Raison) fate at the hands of their captors will also be revealed. Peter Firth returns as Harry Pearce, as do Hugh Simon and Gemma Jones who reprise their roles as Malcolm and Connie. Alex Lanipekun will rejoin the cast as journalist-cum-spy, Ben Kaplan, now a fully fledged member of the team.
"Spooks 7 promises to be a spectacular series," says Sarah Brandist, BBC Commissioning Editor, Independent Drama. "Along with our much loved gang, we are so thrilled to be welcoming the brilliant Richard Armitage to the team. Audiences are going to be intrigued and engaged by the rather compelling force of Lucas North!"
Due to air in autumn 2008, Spooks is written by Neil Cross, Russell Lewis, Richard McBrien, Christian Spurrier and David Farr.
Commissioned for BBC One by Jane Tranter, Controller of BBC Fiction, the series is produced by Katie Swinden and executive produced by Jane Featherstone, Simon Crawford Collins and Andrew Woodhead for Kudos Film and Television.
The executive producer for the BBC is Sarah Brandist. The series was created by David Wolstencroft.