What is it?
Rollicking hi-tech spy drama that thinks it’s modern-day John Le Carre but is really closer to 1990s children’s show Bugs.
What to say if you didn’t like it
What to say if you liked it
It’s bollocks but I like it.
What was good about it?
• New boy Adam Carter (Rupert Penry-Jones), a mockney chancer and the perfect foil for old (public) school operative Tom “eyelashes” Quinn (Matthew McFayden).
• Constantly injured (and over-serious) MI5 boss Harry Pearce (Peter Firth), the least believable but most enjoyable spy-game mastermind since Dr Evil.
• Keeley Hawes (Tipping The Velvet) – she’s still there as repressed schoolboy-fantasy Zoe Reynolds.
• The ridiculous plots – Quinn shot Pearce in the chest, but hadn’t killed the Chief of the Defence Staff, so that was OK and he was only fined a week’s holiday pay.
• Tim McInnerey as Oliver Mace, the sinister, sneering chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee – his best role since sinister, sneering Captain Darling in Blackadder.
• Pearce and Mace closing ranks against the nasty-boy government minister who wanted to politicise MI5 – it made you feel all warm about our lovable secret services.
What was bad about it?
• Not enough gadgets – we expected Quinn to have at least a satellite-enabled whippet with integrated wireless network scanner while he was living rough on the run.
• Not enough sex – nobody shagged anybody in the series three opener, which is not the way it’s done in the world of modern espionage (according to series one and two, anyway).
• The ridiculous plots – do MI5 agents really go around shooting people in the middle of churches, and the rest of us never get to hear about it?
• The show allegedly doubled the number of applicants for jobs at the real MI5 – but 90% of them turned out to be repressed schoolboys hoping to meet Keeley Hawes.