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Strike Back : series 1

Richard Armitage played John Porter in a six-part drama series based on Chris Ryan's novel of the same name, first broadcast on Sky 1 and Sky HD in May 2010.

Strike Back is a story of deception, redemption and revenge, woven around the lives of two former soldiers; Major Hugh Collinson (Andrew Lincoln) and discharged veteran John Porter (Richard Armitage).

Porter led a special forces unit on a daring hostage rescue into the heart of Basra on the eve of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But things went disastrously wrong, and Porter has been haunted by guilt for the last seven years. Then he is given the opportunity to return to Iraq and redeem himself.

The six parts of the series tell three separate but linked stories, each spread over two episodes. The series is loosely based on Chris Ryan's novel - the first two episodes cover most of the action of the novel, but its denouement is shown at the end of episode 6. A former SAS soldier, Ryan (the co-creator and technical consultant for Ultimate Force, one of Richard Armitage's early TV series) is an advisor on the TV series. The writers are Jed Mercurio, whose previous work includes Cardiac Arrest and Bodies, with Alan Whiting (Wire In The Blood, Kingdom) and Robert Murphy (Murder City, Rebus)

Richard Armitage said of Strike Back, “It’s an ambitious project for television. We’ve made three feature films on a TV budget and schedule. But the advantage of that is that these three feature films are linked together so you get a really interesting character arc through all episodes. American television is being brave and doing that at the moment, and this is stepping into that area.” [1]

Strike Back is set in Iraq, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan, but it was filmed in South Africa in the latter part of 2009. Among the filming locations was the Kalahari desert, where conditions included snakes, and 40 degree heat. Richard Armitage described running around in such heat as "like being in a pizza oven". [2]

The series reunited Richard with two former cast members from Robin Hood, Toby Stephens and David Harewood, as well as Shaun Parkes from Miss Marie Lloyd - Queen of the Music Hall.

Also in the cast were Andrew Lincoln, Ewen Bremner, Jodhi May, Dhaffer L'Abidine, Orla Brady and Colin Salmon.

The series was made by Left Bank Pictures for Sky television (a British satellite station), and the directors were Daniel Percival (The State Within) and Edward Hall (Spooks).

Strike Back was part of Sky's plan to generate more of its own high-profile drama, and it was generally considered to have been a great success. A second, ten-part series, Strike Back: Project Dawn, was commissioned and is broadcast in August 2011. It's a co-production with HBO/Cinemax, and although Richard Armitage appears in it, his involvement is minimal due to his filming commitments on The Hobbit.

The first series has been sold to a number of other countries. In Germany, RTL2 broadcast it (in a dubbed version) in January 2011. (Download the German trailer...)



Strike Back microsite on the Sky website
Sky press release, 22nd March 2010, announcing the start date of the series and including detailed episode synopses
The novel of Strike Back (TV tie-in edition) at Amazon UK


[1] Sky press release, 22nd March 2010
[2] Article in FHM, February 2010


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Strike Back : Introduction | Video clips | Episode guide | Production details and DVD
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