TV Interview: Jamie Bamber on the latest season of Sky One's smash hit drama, Strike Back.
In Sky One’s smash hit drama Strike Back, Section 20’s Warren Brown (Thomas ‘Mac’ McAllister), Daniel MacPherson (Samuel Wyatt), and Alin Sumarwata (Gracie Novin) are back with new boss Colonel Alexander Coltrane, played by Jamie Bamber, and disavowed Russian agent Katrina Zarkova played by Yasemin Allen.
When a Russian jet crashes in the South China Sea, Section 20 are sent in to investigate. They find themselves both coming into conflict and being forced to work alongside rogue Russian operative Katrina Zarkova, who is on the trail of the same mystery as them.
The group are assigned a new Commanding Officer – the veteran Coltrane – and pursue the stolen contents of the Russian jet across South East Asia. They will work alongside the Malaysian police to shut down a Triad gang in Kuala Lumpur, uncover a corrupt plot by a wealthy Indian businesswoman who is running for Parliament, and plunge into the jungles of the Golden Triangle in Myanmar. All whilst facing off against mercenary drug agents and terrifying warlords, as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens to push the world to the brink of global conflict.
They’ll need to work alongside their new Russian ally Katrina, but her loyalties and goals might not be what they first appear… What if the one person you can’t trust is the person you need to survive?
We caught up with new boy Jamie Bamber, who told us more…
Strike Back is a show that has survived many lead cast changes, and in fact the cast seems to get stronger. Why do you think this is?
I have no idea if it gets stronger or not, having not watched previous seasons. All I can say is Strikeback has always cast fine actors. Just look at the IMDB page. It’s a Who’s Who of talent.
The team you joined was already established, how was that for you?
It was nice to have three such conscientious actors as Warren, Dan and Alin in place. They had the tactical stuff down, the weaponry down and the safety knowledge down, which means they could guide the rest of us. They also have three wonderful characters they had established which means Yasemine, Varada and I could play off them. A veteran of StrikeBack is someone who has been through the most gruelling of schedules and is therefore an inspiration to the guest artists and new cast. Those three were our role models.
What did the cast get up to off set?
Everything you would expect of visitors to South East Asia. Travel, sampling local food and culture, water sports, wildlife and lots of time in Asian Malls. A few StrikeBack debriefs as well, which can be eventful.
Sky are capable of delivering real big budget series, which are actually cinematic. How challenging do you think it is for the production team to keep delivering and improving on that?
I don’t know how Jack Lothian keeps thinking up new ways to blow stuff up, put his cast in peril and then scrape them through each week. Action sequences have to be inventive; like a good joke, they need surprising punch lines each time. Not easy. How many ways can section 20 save the world?? Only Jack knows…
We loved the series Smoke. How's it been for you to see Taron Egerton grow into a Hollywood star?
Not just Taron. Jodie Whittaker is now an amazing Doctor Who. And my friend Rhashan Stone (former StrikeBacker) is killing it on the west end stage in All About Eve. The Smoke was an incredible cast. My sadness is that we were not able to do more to keep that team together longer. I am proud to have worked with all of them and am warmed to see them go on to do such wonderful work. Taron is a special guy and so talented. I can’t wait to see him in Rocket Man this year and for many years to come. We recently caught up and had dinner at our home in London. He has not changed at all.
How would you describe your character on Strike back?
Curt, efficient, determined and holding on for dear life.
The plot delves into the Russian military, what was it like to explore those themes?
I am currently in Russia. It is interesting to see the reality behind all the projections I have had over a lifetime of Soviet then Russian influence on the world. They have been the bogeymen for so long. To be honest I didn’t do any research into the FSB or Russian Military while shooting. I do read about Russian foreign policy however and it is clear that the cult of the strong man has worked well for Russian leaders. I’d say we are not so different in the West. Nuance is under appreciated. Gorbachov is not respected here in Russia whereas he was an honourable man. Much like Jimmy Carter in the US. The Russian people seem to like Putin despite his narrow interest in them. Same goes for Trump.
Lastly can you tell us what else you have coming up on 2019?
More Strike Back. And then who knows...
Strikeback airs 9pm each Thursday on Sky One and NOW TV. Catch up on demand via NOW TV.