Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rogue Spooks – doing a Torchwood

I’ve been a fan of the Spooks (known as MI-5 in the US) since the first series. I think it was the second episode that brutally killed a female character in frying fat.

It was an uncompromising moment. She could have been shot, or the captors could have relented. But no. The story, and the producers and writers, went through with the horrible scenario. As someone pointed out in the poor-man’s episode guide that is Wikipedia, it “… set the precedent that, in Spooks, anyone can die at any time”.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, just as Doctor Who has now spun off Torchwood, the BBC have announced at their winter and spring schedule launch that we should expect a Rogue Spooks show to appear on our screens in late 2007. It will follow MI5 recruits who “follow a different rule book”.

Sounds very like the plot of a David Wolstencroft novel: Good News Bad News and Contact Zero – both excellent page-turning reads. And this should be no surprise since he’s the creator of the Spooks drama.

Torchwood is doing very well on BBC Three (and the repeats on BBC2) – much better audience figures than Sky are achieving with the third series of Lost (recently stolen from Channel 4).

The quality of Torchwood episodes has been variable. Roughly half are very watchable. The rest are pretty woeful. I’m not sure that the cheaper production costs that Torchwood enjoys are a good excuse for poor (or variable) writing. Maybe if Russell T. Davies had time to write more episodes it would have a better batting average?

I worry that Rogue Spooks will have the same problems.

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