SKY1 HD ANNOUNCE START OF PRODUCTION ON STRIKE BACK STARRING RICHARD ARMITAGE, JODHI MAY AND ANDREW LINCOLN

– Filming commences on location in South Africa. – TX Spring 2010 on Sky1 HD and Sky1. – Based on the hugely successful Chris Ryan novel.

Sky1 HD today (Monday 24 August, 2009) announced the start of production on STRIKE BACK (6×60) – an all action, high definition adaptation of one of ex SAS soldier Chris Ryan’s hugely successful novels.

Produced by BAFTA winning production company Left Bank Pictures (Wallander, The Damned Utd) STRIKE BACK was commissioned by Elaine Pyke, Head of Drama, Sky1 HD and will be produced by Andrew Benson (Prime Suspect , Hornblower) for Left Bank Pictures. It will be directed by Daniel Percival (The State Within, Place of Execution). The opening episodes, which are set in Iraq, have been written by Jed Mercurio (Bodies, Cardiac Arrest). Chris Ryan, best known as the one who got away in the Bravo 2 Zero team, is acting as series consultant.

STRIKE BACK is an adrenaline fuelled contemporary action drama .with an outstanding cast which includes Richard Armitage (Spooks, Robin Hood) as John Porter and Andrew Lincoln (This Life, Teachers) as Hugh Collinson. Jodhi May (The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard, A World Apart, The Last of the Mohicans) plays intelligence officer Layla Thompson, and in the opening film, Orla Brady (Mistresses, Wallander) plays Middle east correspondent, Katie Dartmouth. Nicola Stephenson (The Chase, Clocking Off) is Diane Porter, John Porter’s wife. Laura Greenwood (Prime Suspect) plays Porter’s daughter, Alexandra, Dhafer L’Abadine (The Mark of Cain, Whistleblowers) plays Hakim Al Neseri and Fenar Mohammed Ali plays Hassad.

STRIKE BACK is a story of deception, redemption and revenge, all played out in the interlinked lives of two former soldiers; Major Hugh Collinson and discharged veteran John Porter. Their paths last crossed seven years ago. Now, amidst a new hostage crisis in the Middle East, their lives are about to collide again.

2003, On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, 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.

Elaine Pyke, Head of Drama, Sky1 HD comments; “Sky 1HD drama is about trying to astound audiences, up the creative bar, and commission shows which make audiences love being Sky subscribers. Strike Back fits perfectly in with this. As with all Sky1 dramas, not only will it feature a gifted cast with a large popular following, but working with Andy Harries and Left Bank Pictures means an already crackling script will jump out of the screen. Shot in South Africa with stunning locations and high octane HD action sequences on a grand scale, Chris Ryan’s best selling novel will be a truly uncompromising, compelling, action drama.”

Andy Harries, Chief Executive, Left Bank Pictures comments: “It’s brilliant to have a major player in the UK commissioning original quality drama. Elaine Pyke and Sky shared our enthusiasm for Chris Ryan’s novel, and it is an exciting challenge to turn the action and adventure of his book into a thrilling must watch TV series.”

STRIKE BACK is a Left Bank Pictures production for Sky1 HD and Sky1. The series will be shot on 35mm film for a truly cinematic style for broadcast on Sky1 HD in spring 2010. BBC Worldwide have secured the international distribution rights.

STRIKE BACK has been adapted for the screen by Jed Mercurio (Bodies) and executive produced by Andy Harries for Left Bank Pictures and Elaine Pyke for Sky1 HD.

Links in Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2009/aug/24/sky-one-chris-ryan-strike-back

Variety http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118007613.html?categoryId=19&cs=1

KEY CAST LIST Richard Armitage as John Porter
Andrew Lincoln as Hugh Collinson
Jodhi May as Layla Thompson
Orla Brady as Katie Dartmouth
Dhafer Là ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢Abidine as Hakim Al Neseri
Fenar Mohammed Ali as Hassad
Nicola Stephenson as Diane Porter
Laura Greenwood as Alexandra Porter
Cal Mcaninch as Major Chris Pemberton

For further information please contact:

Publicist, Sky1
Colin Watkins
T: +44 (0)20 7705 3275
M: +44 (0)7825 584806
E: colin.watkins@bskyb.com

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