Richard Armitage talks about the exciting new series
Talking to Richard Armitage, it’s easy to see why he plays the brooding, moody MI5 agent Lucas North in Spooks.
One look of his piercing blue eyes would have us crumbling under interrogation, so we’re happy to admit to the actor that we’d be terrible as a top-secret spy!
Although that’s not to say we’re not excited about the new series. Far from it! Series eight sees Lucas firmly in the fold of head-honcho Harry Pearce’s (Peter Firth) Section D team and, this time round, Lucas is the agent in the thick of most of the action.
So, fresh from his character Guy of Gisborne being killed off in the latest (and last – boo!) series of Robin Hood, we sit down for a chat with Richard. Of course we ask the 38 year old all about being an action hero, but more importantly, whether romance is on the cards for Lucas this series…Hey, Richard! So, Spooks is back – can you tell us what we can expect?
"It focuses on Nightingale – a group of influential ‘players’ hand-picked from the world’s superpowers, with access to huge sums of money. Its members are hidden, but their reach is far and they have big plans. So Section D has to try to hunt down its members, find out exactly what they’re planning and stop them before it’s too late.”Sounds as action-packed as ever, then!
"This year, the main thread feels like something which is actually out there, bubbling away. Whereas last year it was more of a buried plot from the 1960s, this series is topical. Spooks can be quite predictive in places.”Last year you took over as the lead agent after Rupert Penry-Jones’ character Adam was killed off. Is it nice not being the new boy any more?
"I only felt like the new boy for that first episode. Last year Lucas was finding himself again after an eight-year incarceration. He had to find a place on the team, and also in relation to the other characters. He had to rekindle old relationships, with his ex-wife, and Harry, and also establish new ones.”Are we going to know him more this series, then?
"In episode four, am interrogator from Lushanka – the prison in which Lucas was incarcerated – arrives in London. Lucas revisits what he went through in prison in vivid detail. He wasn’t just tortured; he built up a relationship with his interrogator while he was there, too. He’s forced to remember some of the horror of his interrogation period.”That’s intense! Are there any happier moments for Lucas? What about a bit of romance?
"There is a love interest, but it’s a dangerous one. Lucas is instantly attracted to the CIA’s new liaison officer, Sarah Caulfield (Genevieve O’Reilly). She’s very tall, beautiful and blonde, and the first time she introduces herself, it’s like: ‘Oh God, here’s trouble.’ The initial friction between them soon becomes a passionate affair.”Saucy! You seem to be the action man on the team – do you do all of your own stunts?
"Yes, as usual, Spooks has a variety of weird and inventive stunts. All of the fight sequences are carefully choreographed so that I can perform the stunt rather than a double. This year there’s a fight in a swimming pool and one in a disused area of a private hospital, which I found particularly challenging.”Does it worry you that Spooks isn’t afraid to kill off the big characters?
"No, that’s exciting. Whenever Spooks gets rid of a character, it’s done in a spectacular way, it means the show is stronger than any one character.”So you weren’t sad when your character, Guy of Gisborne got killed off in Robin Hood, then?
"No, as one of the baddies, he had to suffer for the suffering he caused. I will miss him but that’s why it had to end, I would of hated to grow tired of that character. He was fun to play, although it gets to you after a while as you do forget how to smile. I’ve spent three years with a face like thunder!”What would you be doing if you weren’t acting?
"I have a strong need to direct, but I would also like to produce. If I could turn back the clock I would certainly be behind the camera.”