The explosive Sky Original Production returns to the box for a seventh series that’s bigger and better than ever…
Strike Back: Silent War, Thursday 28 February, 9pm, Sky One/HD (CH 110/109). Also available for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > Sky One
When the world needs saving, who you gonna call? Section 20, that’s who. We last caught up with the crack military unit last year in the hugely successful Strike Back: Retribution, and now they’re back to kick some more international butt in Strike Back: Silent War.
When a Russian jet crashes into the South China Sea and its contents are stolen, Section 20’s Thomas McAllister (Warren Brown), Samuel Wyatt (Daniel MacPherson) and Gracie Novin (Alin Sumarwata) are tasked with investigating the incident. Why the jet went down is a mystery – a mystery that’s also being looked into by rogue Russian agent Katrina Zarkova (Yasemin Allen).
The team must join forces with the secretive Zarkova if they want to get to the bottom of the crash, but can they trust someone whose allegiances remain unclear? Plus, with a new boss, Triad gangs, mercenary drug agents and ferocious warlords to contend with, it’s safe to say they’ve got their hands pretty full this time around.
The new series of Strike Back is ready to deliver its payload of thrills and spills across 10 pulsating episodes, and according to star Warren Brown, it’s going to be more epic than ever.
“There are so many explosions this year,” says Brown. “We’ve tried to do it bigger and better. I’m super proud of the last season but I feel like this season is going to be 100 times better. [The creators] just keep pushing it.”
Filming took place over six months across Malaysia in locations such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor. And while the cast and crew made time to unwind when scheduling would allow, it was a gruelling shoot that pushed everyone to their limits.
“For the most part we were out in the jungle, sweating non-stop,” says the former Luther actor. “It’s the wettest job I’ve ever done and continues to be the toughest job I’ve ever done. You know what you’re signing up for and it doesn’t disappoint. You get battered from start to finish.”
Sounds lovely. And if the brutal heat wasn’t enough to fight against, dangerous scrapes are par for the course when making such an intense show. “I got away lightly in the last series,” says Brown. “There were people with stitches, people with sprains, people got hit by a drone. But I joined the injury club this year. I got burned in a stunt that went a little bit awry.”
Now, getting your skin scorched would usually be enough to prompt most actors to pack their designer suitcases and get on the next flight back to the UK. But not Brown. “It’s such a physically demanding job and one of the things that appeals to me is that [the producers] want us to be right in amongst it.”
A new series also means new cast members, most notably Marcella’s Jamie Bamber, who plays Commanding Officer Coltrane. “I read a one-page description of the character: “What if James Bond became M?” – and I was in,” says Bamber.
A decorated military man, Coltrane is installed to oversee Section 20’s mission – but he also has his own demons to battle.
“Coltrane lost a bunch of men in Helmand, but had a stellar military career until that point,” says Bamber. “Since then, he’s been sidelined into training and other roles, but he’s a colonel, so he’s achieved a certain rank and standing.”
“He’s now come out of retirement to do this last job, but it’s also a measure of salvation; a chance for him to look at himself in the mirror again. He’s got a lot at stake, though he wouldn’t admit that to anyone – certainly not this bunch of reprobates!”
Bamber admits to having not watched Strike Back before he got the gig, but it didn’t take him long to discover what made the show so popular. “I hadn’t seen any episodes before, but I certainly knew of the show,” he says. “The only episodes I really wanted to watch were the ones with Warren, Dan and Alin, and I was blown away by their proficiency with the action.”
Once Bamber got into the thick of filming, the 45-year-old was able to better understand the physical toll put on the actors involved. More poignantly, however, the actor found being away from his wife and three children for long periods of time trickier to contend with.
“It was really difficult, I didn’t particularly enjoy that aspect of it,” he reveals. “I had a lot of spare time at the start of the shoot. My family came out for the middle chunk and we had the holiday of a lifetime in Southeast Asia, so that was incredible. I was much more involved in the time-consuming action sequences towards the end of the shoot. I’ll try to avoid doing that again.”
Would he come back for another series? Bamber believes that the producers are considering a more practical setting for any future series.
“The word on the street is that if we do it next time, we won’t be so far from home, which would be great for me. It’s all about where you are in your life. If I was younger I would have absolutely loved it. The most important thing for me is being there for my family. There were trying moments – plus we moved house twice during filming!”
Finally, did he experience any injuries while filming? After Warren Brown was burned on set, did Bamber perhaps dislocate his shoulder while leaping from a moving car? Maybe he broke some ribs during a particularly intense fight scene?
“I pulled my hamstring on a treadmill,” he confesses. Eat your heart out Dwayne Johnson.
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