Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Strike Back novel and cast of the tv adaption

Last time Richard Armitage wore shirts that pulled taut across the biceps he was reading bedtime stories. Those body-hugging tees are set to appear again in Strike Back. Green is good.

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.


Traxy said...

Thanks for posting! Been wondering what SB is about. :)

That picture is currently in the process of being committed to memory... Looks like SB is going to be hawt! I mean, er, good? *cough*

bZirk said...

Hmmm. I got the book from the library but haven't started it yet. Well, I read a few pages and put it down. I thought I had read it before but nope, it's not the book I read. Of course it was a little hard to tell at first 'cause uh, talk about doing a global replace. Okay, someone slap me. But my husband told me I had it confused with another book. So glad he can keep these things straight. Anywho, I'm wondering if I should even read it or just take the ride in the spring.

Leslieg said...

Sandy is a common nickname for Alexandra and sometimes for Alexander.

Phylly3 said...

Nice post! Lots of info. here. Thanks for finding all those cast pictures. But as I look at JP's wife, I wonder why they would pick such a plain Jane. You say she is "long-suffering" -- does that mean they are separated? Lots of other good looking females in the cast...I'm desperately trying to turn it into a romance (in case you can't tell.) Something tells me I might be disapointed!

Starheart said...

Yes Traxy, even if it isn't good, it'll be hawt for sure.

Bzirk I know what u mean. I have the same problem with Patricia Cornwell novels - or i used to before lost interest.

Thanks Leslieg, I did wonder about it as a nickname. In the book they use 'Sandy' as her official name at one point so i didn't know what to think of it.

Hey Phylly3, i don't think he's supposed to be a glamour man in the novel. He's just a young guy who lives and breathes SAS but everything goes bellyup. As for romance, it's the kind of story that appeals to young men rather than women who enjoy period dramas. Take from that what u will! BUT, the ones adapting it are clearly modifying/upping the female roles. I say that because the number of episodes the actresses appear in is higher than what i'd expect from reading up to where I did in the novel.

Merry Christmas everyone! Happy Spooks series 8 finale viewing too, if you can get it!!

bZirk said...

I think I'm going to read it before next spring. Usually I like books like this even if they aren't great literary works or great period pieces. You can only read so much Pride and Prejudice. Every now and then a little Tom Clancy or Clive Cussler is a nice break.

bZirk said...

Oh, and Merry Christmas! :D

Mulubinba said...

I haven't seen the book around anywhere but it might be in our local library. Thanks for the cast rundown - very interesting to see a few RH3 faces. I hope to see it but suspect I will be relying on a download also.

Phylly3 said...

Hi Mulubinba! I got the book from Amazon and am putting it in my husband's Christmas stocking! Tee-hee! (I am hoping he will like it and then will want to watch the movie with me when it comes out.)
Me: "Oh, it's they made it into a movie? And WHO is in it? Oh, that's nice dear!" (I doubt if I can pull it off!)

Phylly3 said...

By the way MERRY CHRISTMAS to all! It's still EVE here!
Thanks for all your Blog posts Ragtag, you've been very busy posting lately!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Starheart said...

Bzirk it's a good way to pass the time while you're waiting for something else. I sit in public transport a lot, and Strike back is perfect for the daily commute.

Mulubinba my local library network had 3 copies, all of them available. Was it a bad sign? The reviews are scathing! I might be pidgeonholing it into the 'simple action' genre but what helped was very low expectations.

Phylly3 you are such a sly fox! I've started sending my partner the subliminal messages as well, though sometimes i wonder why i bother. I was telling him about SB yesterday and he said "I read something about that online", I jumped up shocked, "YOU? WHERE? HOW?" It turned out he saw my last blog post. *Rolling of eyes*

BTW I got my first spam comment yesterday! What a milestone!

Happy boxing day all...

jeanlin said...

Thanks for the info in the blog.

By the way, Shaun Parkes has worked with RA before too, they were both in Marie Lloyd, Quieen of the Music Hall.

bZirk said...

I'm reading it!

Hey, you got some spam. LOL! Must mean you're popular. :D

Ricrar said...

Great outline of SB ragtag. Wonder why I began to feel self-conscious after reading your paragraph describing many predatory eyes and hungry salivation over John Porter's biceps? :)

Hope to see an 'Avatar' review if it's not already to check the rest of your blog.

Happy New Year to all!

bZirk said...


Oh, I would love it if you did a review of Avatar.

Joan Crenshaw said...

Well that's quite the Christmas prezie, isn't ? Thank you, Ragtag. Nice cammies. Realllly nice cammies. Have I ever said how much I love cammies?

I work with the military -- everyone is going to wonder why I have a sudden desire to see the guys in cammies.

Alexander Siddig was on Star Trek Deep Space Nine and also a guest on an early season of Spooks.

Starheart said...

Thanks for dropping by Jeanlin. Marie Lloyd is the last of RA's work I have yet to see. Can't seem to find a local source for it but will persevere.

bZirk I sat on the fence about it for 2 months but seeing *that* image on RiCrAr's blog I totally caved. Once you get a little more detail it gets the ball rolling and before you know it, you're reading about Porter Porter.

RiCrAr I haven't reviewed it but I think i might later. It's caused quite a stir hasn't it?

Joan C hi! I learn something new every day. The internet has told me 'cammie' means clothing made from camouflage patterned fabric. I love cammies too now! Good for concealing people and their figure flaws.

Anonymous said...

In a recent article it says that the series contains three different stories that take place in Iraq, Afghanistan and somewhere in Africa. I suppose the character that are not in the book belong to those stories?

Starheart said...

Hi anon, the 3 interwoven stories is intriguing. Those characters could be involved in other campaigns in different countries. My initial reaction was that they were part of JP's SAS squad or the hostage takers. RiCrAr mentioned it might be 3 different POV of the same event. Both sound good.

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

I forgot to comment earlier, but I enjoyed seeing all the faces that will be in Strike Back... thanks for researching this out for us! :)

bZirk said...

I didn't comment about that either. Thank you for all of the lovely research.

Starheart said...

No sweat Nat, bZirk. After seeing That Pic everywhere i was desperate to see all the faces together.

Joan Crenshaw said...

It makes lovely wallpaper here at work and I figure it's Job-Related, isn't it?

Thanks for all the research! It's interesting to see the cast. the girl who plays his daughter looks familiar -- I think she was inthe last "Prime Suspect."

Starheart said...

YW Joan! I think we've found our designated military insider. Have you wondered what RA looks like with a buzzcut?

Joan Crenshaw said...

Now you have me thinking about the high-and-tight -- the buzzcut with a little more length on top. Oh my...

Not so sure about designated military insider as it's the US military! But I do speak in acronyms. (Don't tell anyone, but I look up the ones they use in Spooks so I'll know.)

Starheart said...

I won't Joan. Just between you and me, when Spooks first came out here I never watched it because i thought it was about the paranormal.

MillyMe said...

You've been very thorough in your research for Strike Back. Don't you find that most actors' paths tend to criss-cross after a while. What a strange life in many ways, no regular colleagues, but some they see often (series) whilst others are fleeting aquaintances.

There's a lot of activity around Strike Back now with the premiere yesterday and the Bafta showing in Picadilly on Monday.
Not really being a bicep-gal (the things I do for RA!) I'm looking forward to your take on the series when that time comes, Ragtag.

MillyMe said...

Have you started watching Strike Back yet or are you waiting for the dvd? As you might have noticed anyway by now, there is a radical shift from the book, fortunately when it comes to Porter's character and looks!

Chris Ryan has said that he deliberately didn't interfere with the film-makers' vision of his book, but that he was pleased with the end result and with RA's performance.

Starheart said...

Hi MillyMe,

I have a friend downloading it for me since I won't get a chance to watch it for a while. My friend hasn't said anything (they're NOT an RA fan) except that Prince John from Robin Hood hasn't shown up yet.