Review By Paul Mount, 4 out of 5

It’s a fine line between safety and terror. Meet the rulers.

Last year something very strange happened on British television. BBC1 made a series for people with a pulse, for people like you and me who hate the very ground David Dickinson and his like walk on, who hate soft-focus Sunday night dramas and gritty maverick-detectives-who-breaks-the-rules, who loathe and detest the inanities of reality television with every fibre of their quivering beings. The BBC made SPOOKS. And damn me if it wasn’t a great big stinking hit.

Just in time for the launch of series 2, here comes Contender’s impressive three-disc release of series one. SPOOKS is ostensibly about the M15, secret agents who ‘live a different life every moment, face a different threat every day.’ They’re the new breed of hi-tech super-spies, the BUGS team with its tongue taken out of its cheek. SPOOKS is about terrorism, political wheeling and dealing, duplicity and intrigue. It’s a jungle out there and the SPOOKS team have their work cut out trying to keep their heads above water in a world getting more andmore uncertain every day. It’s a smart, stylish series, utilising trendy split-screen techniques and sharp, snazzy graphics. It’s action-packed and intelligent, worlds away from the moribund drivel which generally passes as contemporary drama. It’s edgy stuff too, chilling and nerve-wracking in places; the end of episode two will live long in the memory of those who saw it when it was broadcast and those who experience it for the first time now on DVD. Not everyone makes it to the end of the series in one piece and the famous cliffhangar has just been cleverly resolved at the start of the new series. Perhaps the success of SPOOKS will remind British TV executives that the audience actually like to be excited now and again.

THE DISCS: A lavish three-disc set but the menus are incredibly irritating and difficult to navigate. Hidden amidst all the bleeps and flashes are over twenty interview sequences, deleted scenes, scripts, featurettes and all the bits and pieces you’d expect of a modern TV series.

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