It bugs me when he has to share the limelight in ensemble shows like Spooks. Finally he's the lead again, even if we have to wait until April 2010 for someone to upload the torrent. Your mission is to study this image. Commit every detail to memory.
The hunter stalks his prey.
Unaware of the synchronous salivation of so many hungry-eyed predators.
Their hive-like minds trained on him with sniper intensity.
I've started reading the book by Chris Ryan aka Colin Armstrong and at the halfway point I've decided not to spoil the tv experience by reading the ending. I've got enough info about the main characters by now, and can make some sense of the cast listing on IMDB, but a lot of the names don't register.
Richard Armitage: John Porter (6 episodes)
"On the eve of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, John Porter leads a Special Forces unit on a daring hostage rescue into the heart of Basra, events overtake our hero with disastrous results. The decisions taken on that night inexorably unite the fate of both Porter and Collinson. Porter bares the burden of guilt and the repercussions haunt him for seven years, until an opportunity presents itself for him to return to Iraq and redeem himself." excerpt from here.
They've transported the hostage rescue from Lebanon 1989 to Iraq 2003, and I didn't think Porter was leading the unit - he tells us he's the least experienced of the 5 man team. The repercussions mentioned haunt him only half the novel's 14 years, poor Porter Porter - sorry, insider joke. Who's brilliant idea was it to do a search and replace on the most common English name? Every time it's supposed to say John, it says Porter instead. Thus Porter Porter, and Elton Porter who sang 'Candle in the wind' after Diana died.
Shelley Conn: Danni (6 episodes)
Danni's a nurse in her mid 20s. In the novel JP's been a homeless man full of infections and vitamin deficiencies, and she's the one that gives him the jabs.
Laura Greenwood: Alexandra Porter (6 episodes)
Not sure why they changed JP's daughter's name from Sandy to Alexandra.
Andrew Lincoln: Hugh Collinson (6 episodes)
JP's nemesis. You can tell in the book he's a wanker because he's named Peregrine. What kind of parent does that to their kid?
Jodhi May: Layla (6 episodes)
She's a no-nonsense intelligence officer.
Colin Salmon: Middleton (4 episodes)
I don't remember a Middleton.
Nicola Stephenson: Diane Porter (3 episodes)
JP's long-suffering wife.
Orla Brady: Katie Dartmouth (2 episodes)
A journalist in the novel, a Middle East correspondent here.
Ewen Bremner: Gerald Baxter (2 episodes)
I don't remember any Geralds in the novel, but Ewen Bremner should look familiar to Spooks fans.
David Harewood: Tshuma (2 episodes)
Don't remember a Tshuma either. But he's Tuck from RH3.
Dhaffer L'Abidine: Hakim Al Neseri (2 episodes)
Maybe this guy comes up later in the book, maybe not.
Cal Macaninch: Major Chris Pemberton (2 episodes)
Finally a name I remember. JP reports to this guy in the SAS.
Mick 'Stuntie' Milligan: Charlie Company squad leader / (2 episodes)
Isn't this guy the stunt co-ordinator too? I couldn't find a picture for him except for a really tiny dodgy one that probably isn't him anyway.
Fenar Mohammed-Ali: Hassad (2 episodes)
Originally Lebanese, but I suppose now Iraqi.
Shaun Parkes: Stone (2 episodes)
Don't know who he is.
Alexander Siddig: Sharq (2 episodes)
Sorry, wish I could be of more help.
Toby Stephens: Arlington (2 episodes)
I don't know who this is, but I suspect he'll have an acerbic wit.
So it's nice to see some RH3 actors in this. It may be because one of the casting department Victor Jenkins was casting director or associate for RH2?
So back to the book. It's an action story which is very simply written and a cinch to adapt. It's not meant to be studied. Believe me, you don't want to dwell on the poor proofreading. There's plenty to improve on, but if you imagine an episode of Ultimate Force or Spooks on a global scale there you have it.
Maybe comparing it to Ultimate Force is too simplistic. There's no bald guy with a weird 'serious' face that looks like he's poking fun at himself. I've been watching a lot of Spooks so my credibility radar is on the blink but I can see a potentially excellent adaption. Superficially both stories involve SAS, but Strike Back is all about redemption and second chances. There's a lot of useful raw material here. I can't wait to see it.