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