BLAZIN' SQUAD

The Sec­tion 20 unit is back in ac­tion to track down a ruth­less ter­ror­ist in a new-look STRIKE BACK

TV & Satellite Week - - Cover Story -

SKY ONE’S AC­TION drama Strike Back has wit­nessed many in­car­na­tions over the years. Since the se­ries first hit our screens in 2010, ev­ery­one from An­drew Lin­coln and Richard Ar­mitage to Rob­son Green and Amanda Meal­ing has worn the com­bat fa­tigues and body ar­mour as part of se­cre­tive mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence unit Sec­tion 20.

Now, they’re switch­ing things up again, with a huge re­boot of the show, in­clud­ing a brand new cast led by Luther star War­ren Brown, a new bad­die, played by for­mer Coro­na­tion Street ac­tress Kather­ine Kelly, and high-oc­tane, ac­tion-packed sto­ry­lines that al­low the unini­ti­ated to jump on board.

The team is now made up of four ca­pa­ble and in­de­pen­dent sol­diers who have been thrown to­gether at the end of their ca­reers and forced to work as a team.

DYS­FUNC­TIONAL TEAM

‘There wouldn’t be any drama if ev­ery­one got on – they’re all from dif­fer­ent back­grounds and it’s like a dys­func­tional fam­ily,’ says Brown. ‘ev­ery­one’s got their own mo­tives for be­ing there.

‘For my char­ac­ter, Mac, his pre­vi­ous team was am­bushed and he was al­most killed. When Mac breaks his com­mand­ing of­fi­cer’s jaw, he ends up in trou­ble – but then gets a sec­ond chance when he’s in­vited to join Sec­tion 20. And he wants to get the job done – no mat­ter what it takes.’

It has now be­come cus­tom­ary for the stars of all-ac­tion dra­mas to be sent to pre-shoot boot camps, but the Strike Back regime was par­tic­u­larly in­tense.

‘We were in the gym at 8am ev­ery morn­ing, then Brazil­ian ju­jitsu at 10.30am,’ re­calls Brown, a for­mer world cham­pion Thai boxer.‘the af­ter­noon would be rock climbing for a cou­ple of hours, then spe­cial forces train­ing, learn­ing to fire live weapons and stunt driv­ing.

‘We did that ev­ery day for nearly a month be­fore film­ing in Jor­dan, but it was im­por­tant to train hard, out of re­spect for the men and women who do this for a liv­ing.’

Brown and the cast hope this re­boot of the se­ries will at­tract new fans to the show. ‘For peo­ple who al­ready en­joy Strike Back, it’s the same world, but you don’t have to have seen it to un­der­stand this se­ries. Ev­ery­thing is set up in episode one,’ he re­veals. ‘It’s the old-fash­ioned story of good guys ver­sus bad guys, but told on an epic scale. It’s fan­tasy, ac­tion ad­ven­ture and es­capism, but it’s very real, too.’

KEEP­ING IT REAL

Some­times, says Brown, the scenes felt rather too re­al­is­tic.‘ev­ery­one takes it re­ally se­ri­ously, and we trained with live weapons so we know how to stand with them, op­er­ate and re­spect them. It’s still very dan­ger­ous, even fir­ing blanks.

‘I re­mem­ber film­ing one of our very first gun bat­tles. You know it’s not real but when you’re march­ing

for­ward, there’s noise all around you, you shoot, and some­one goes down. It’s all be­cause of tim­ing and chore­og­ra­phy, but you do think, “Wow, this is like go­ing into a proper gun­fight,” but know­ing that you’re never go­ing to die.’

With ev­ery episode crammed full of in­cred­i­ble stunts and full-on ac­tion scenes, Brown ad­mits the adren­a­line was pump­ing.

‘We had the stunt co-or­di­na­tor from Game of Thrones so it was amaz­ing,’ he re­veals.

‘There was one scene where we were film­ing up in a heli­copter, and when­ever the cam­era wasn’t on us we were scream­ing and tak­ing self­ies, be­cause the whole thing was so in­cred­i­ble. There were in­juries aplenty, too, but luck­ily my worst in­jury was a re­ally painful splin­ter!

‘It’s the old story of good guys ver­sus bad guys, but told on an epic scale.’

WAR­REN BROWN

Lance Cor­po­ral Gra­cie Novin Alin Su­mar­wata

The petrol­head is bru­tally hon­est and is the heart and

soul of the unit. Cap­tain Na­talie Reynolds Roxanne Mckee Comes from a mil­i­tary fam­ily, and ex­cels at psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­fil­ing.

Sgt Daniel ‘Mac’ Mcallister War­ren Brown The man of prin­ci­ple is out to avenge a fa­tal at­tack on his for­mer team. Sgt Sa­muel Wy­att Daniel Macpher­son

This lone ranger doesn’t want to be a mem­ber of any­one’s team.

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