Producer Chris Fry discusses BBC Three’s new six-part drama Spooks: Code 9, a new spin-off from BBC One’s highly successful spy drama.
What’s the premise behind Spooks: Code 9?
“Spooks: Code 9 is set in 2013; nearly one year on from a devastating nuclear attack on London. The explosion caused major changes to society as we know it. Manchester has become the new capital and there’s definitely an anarchic feel to this ‘new’ Britain.
“After the bomb in London, MI5 needs more people on the ground immediately – not only to replace the officers they lost in the bomb, but to deal with the new challenges that face the nation.
“They’ve set up Field Offices in every major town, and the plan is to have younger officers who are completely immersed and attuned to every potential threat.
“In the new MI5 it doesn’t matter where you come from. If you have ability, dedication and potential they’ll have you on the streets as a field officer within six months.
“And that’s where our team come in; they’re the new Field Office 19.”
How familiar will this territory be for Spooks fans?
“Some elements of Code 9 will be familiar to Spooks viewers – MI5 ‘jargon’ if you like – but this is a completely new show. There are no crossover characters or storylines and, most importantly, it is set in a completely new world. We hope that Spooks fans will love it just as much as a whole new set of Code 9 fans.”
Who are the new characters that inhabit the world of Field Office 19?
“With the exception of Charlie, who we see join the team in episode one, they all joined MI5 in the weeks following the bomb.
“They’re all in their early twenties and from very from different backgrounds; all of them have done their six months training but none of them have been in the field for more than a few months. They’ll continue their training on the job and seeing them continually honing their espionage skills will be a key feature of the series. Together, our rookies combine the aspects of a perfect, experienced spy.
“They’re all heroic but they’ll continually find themselves in situations beyond their experience and training.”
How did you go about casting the core team?
“We started casting in June 2007 and we always knew we were looking for young talent. We had to make sure that the characters would be appealing to the BBC Three audience but also believable as spies – and had to be fantastic actors of course.
“We have got a brilliant cast with varying levels of experience and they have bonded really well as a group, whilst all bringing something unique to the show as well.”