BBC to turn MI5 spy drama Spooks into videogame

LONDON - Bafta award-winning spy drama 'Spooks' is being turned into a videogame marking the first time that a BBC drama has been developed into a computer game.

BBC Worldwide said it plans to develop a 'Spooks' game for the PC and games consoles, including the PlayStation2 and Xbox.

Written by Steve Bailie, one of the show's writers, players will be able take control of the MI5 agents from the series, including 'Spooks' star Matthew MacFadyen, in a mission to thwart an international criminal conspiracy.

The game is being launched to coincide with the anticipated third series of 'Spooks' due to air in the autumn on BBC One. The second series ended with a nail-biting cliffhanger as MacFadyen's character Tom, set up as the fall guy in an assassination, is forced to shoot his MI5 boss and make a run for it.

The series has won critical acclaim but has also run into controversy. An episode from the second series attracted nearly 1,000 complaints as Muslim leaders denounced the programme, which featured a radical cleric who used a fictional Birmingham mosque as a recruiting ground for suicide bombers. The episode became the most complained about programme of 2003.

The game will take place in a range of UK and international locations and will involve completing a variety of 'Spooks'-like operations -- from surveillance to code-breaking, stealthy tailing of suspects and the cracking of criminal cells.

TV drama 'Spooks' is made for the BBC by Kudos. As well as receiving a best drama Bafta, 'Spooks' has been aired to critical acclaim in the US where it is shown on the A&E Network as 'MI-5'.

Stephen Garrett, joint managing director of Kudos, said: "As a TV producer, it's thrilling to find an internationally successful show like 'Spooks' starting to develop a life of its own. With its potential for stealth and complex problem solving, 'Spooks' seems a natural for the world of computer gaming, a world that until now television drama propositions have not really been able to inhabit."

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