Sam Vincent & Jonathan Brackley (‘Spooks': Series 10) interview

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Spy drama Spooks returns to BBC One for a tenth and final series later this month.

CultBox caught up with lead writers Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley to find out more…

At what point during production were you made aware that this was to be the final series and how did this affect the scripts for later episodes?

“There was always a strong possibility of it being the end, so throughout the process we were looking for ways to infuse it with a sense of finality.

“We’d done a fair bit of writing before it was made definite by Kudos – but had plenty of time to plot a true conclusion. And crucially, by the time we began to write the final ep, we knew it would be the last…”

Does Series 10 feature standalone episodes or follow one main arc for the whole series?

“It’s a bit of both. There’s a big old arc that runs over the whole series, but most of the episodes function as standalone stories, too.”

Will the decommissioning of Beth Bailey be mentioned onscreen?

“Yep. It causes a little friction in Ep 1…”

How would you have developed Beth’s character in Series 10 if she had stayed and were you sad to lose Sophia Myles after just one series?

“Beth was a former private contractor, a type we hadn’t really seen on the Grid before. There were plans to explore that a lot more, show her torn between her new sense of public service and the pull of her lucrative past.

“So it’s a shame it didn’t work out – but on the other hand, it gave us an opportunity to create Erin and Calum.”

Will we see more of Dimitri this year?

“Absolutely. Dimitri’s chief action man this year, and we get under his skin – he has a big story in 10.3, where his gentlemanly, ex-military moral code is challenged by having to seduce a young woman. He might take his top off too, if that’s what you’re really asking.”

Who has been your favourite Series 10 character to write dialogue for?

“It has to be Towers, the Home Secretary. Simon Russell Beale is such a genius, we can put those Boris-esque, florid phrases in his mouth, and he’ll make them sound real. And if we’ve really gone too far with a daft line, he’ll still say it, but plays against the comedy, which brings the character a whole new dimension.”

Can you give us a hint about the characters played by each of Series 10’s new cast members (Lara Pulver, Alice Krige, Jonathan Hyde and Geoffrey Streatfeild)?

“Lara plays Erin Watts, the new Section Chief. She seems an ambitious, steely, ball-busting presence at first, but there’s a heart underneath that she finds increasingly inconvenient.

“Jonathan and Alice are Ilya and Elena Gavrik. Can’t give too much away about them, but safe to say they’re Russian, and cast long shadows from Harry’s past.

“And Geoffrey plays Calum Reed, a multi-role officer, who’s highly disrespectful but also brilliant. And funny. Or at least, he thinks he is.”

Did you have Star Trek star Alice Krige in mind when you wrote the character of Elena and were you excited about having such a cult actress join the show?

“No, casting begins once scripts have been written. But we were thrilled. She’s amazing in this series – really got into her character, asking lots of thoughtful (and sometimes tricky!) questions of us, which we fed back into the writing and gave new layers to Elena.

“And also… she’s the BORG QUEEN!! We were talking to her on Skype at one point and Sam almost asked her to say “Resistance is futile,” but thankfully professionalism won out.”

> Read the second part of our exclusive interview with Sam and Jonathan.

> Order the Series 10 boxset on Amazon.

Watch BBC One’s teaser trailer Series 10…