Anne Penketh: Life without terror threats, serial betrayal and Harry

Related Topics

I got the call only minutes after I purchased the DVD of series nine to take back to America with me. The BBC had canned my favourite TV series. Spooks is dead.

Goodbye Harry Pearce. The MI5 chief was practically the only survivor of the series that kept me on the edge of my seat for a decade, from the moment of its pulsating theme tune, and I can't believe that the next one will be his last.

Spooks was beyond gripping. Its adrenaline rush provided water-cooler fodder and telephone conversations that led from one episode to the next.

For me, Spooks had three key ingredients. Firstly, it was bang up to date with modern threats, be they Islamic terrorism, the Ruskies up to their old tricks, or the Iranians bent on building a bomb. One episode in which Iran had acquired a nuclear trigger seemed almost prescient. There were inevitable tensions between Harry and his political masters in the Home Office.

Secondly, in my limited experience, there has never been a TV series which has been prepared to kill off its protagonists with such nonchalant ease: take the woman whose head was boiled in oil in the second episode, which provoked protests from disgusted of Tunbridge Wells, for instance.

The most memorable moments for me since 2002 were the tragic death of Adam's wife in his arms, and the horrible but deserved end of Connie, Harry's most trusted aide-turned traitor.

The characters were believable, and rounded, despite the dizzying number of subplots and new characters that tested our memories. Lucas North, for example, returned after an absence lasting for several series. Ros literally came back from the dead.

But despite losing so many of its characters, Spooks never ran out of steam. It had a stable of writers who remained true to the tightly written brand. Several of the actors said the show was bigger than the characters, and that was a hallmark of its success.

Its best episodes mixed betrayal (amongst colleagues, of course), suspense and pathos. I gather from the writers that former spies were consulted on the background, although even I can see that this was a series of entertainment that we were not necessarily supposed to take seriously.

So now I am contemplating a life without Spooks. I will soon enter the netherworld of a recovering Spooks addict. The only cure will be a return of the series I crave. Harry, are you listening?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Service Delivery Manager - Software Company

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager Kingston Up...

Year 3 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 3 Primary Teacher in HullA f...

Drama Teacher - Hull and Grimsby

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: The JobRandstad are currently in need of ...

Reception Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is the UK mark...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Daily catch-up: Ed Miliband on low pay; Alan Johnson on Betjeman; Tom Freeman on editing

John Rentoul
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments