Trick or treat? A demoted field agent is reduced to routine surveillance on a London town house on Halloween. But alongside her new rookie partner, she discovers there is no such thing as routine.
Year of Spies: October was the fourth episode produced by the team, as they wanted to explore the suspense horror genre next and there's no better day to set it than Halloween!
The team conducted research into real terrorism and discovered most threats to national security aren't from James Bond style super villains or groups, but from individuals working alone from their own homes. It's a terrifying thought that your next door neighbour, teacher or doctor could be plotting something behind closed doors. It's a theme we wanted to explore in the current world climate.
Production took place just before and just after Halloween 2015. Everything but one shot was filmed in Stoke-On-Trent, that one shot being the exterior of the real SIS headquarters in London.
Rachel Shenton was cast as Agent Eve Harper. Rachel has appeared in Channel 4's Hollyoaks and is currently working in the US on ABC series Switched at Birth. She was more than happy to be back filming again in her home town.
"It's amazing, there's no place like home and I love working with Chris and Steph. I've worked with Chris since I was 16 and I just love it. It's always so creative, everyone pitches in."
Manchester based actor James Oates was cast as Jack, a new recruit who's still finding his feet.
I really enjoyed working on Year of Spies. It was a fun and challenging project and playing the part of Jack was great. Chris's direction allowed us to play around and explore lots of different options. Really can't wait for the final cut to come out!
Behind the Scenes
In keeping with the Halloween theme, Jack is named after Jack-O'-Lanterns and Eve is named after All Hallows Eve.
The house exterior used in this episode belongs to the former policeman whose real life vampire case inspired Blood and Bone China and it also previously appeared as a location in that series.
Jack's gun is a Glock 17, the real type of handgun carried by British operatives.
Jack's skull mask is homage to the latest Bond film SPECTRE in which Daniel Craig's Bond sports a similar mask in the pre-credit sequence.
Once again, a massive thank you to everyone who helped in the production of this episode. Thank you to our 'Gas Mask' wearing doubles, Charles and G. Thanks to Mark our production assistant who helped to build the impressive 'crazy walls' in the cellar sequence and sourced the wheelchair and British flags. Thank you to Haywood Academy for letting us turn their college into MI6 for the evening and to Mahesh for being so helpful, trusting and accommodating. Thank you to Stoke-On-Trent City Council and their brilliant security guards for access and use of their locations. Thank you to John Pye and his lovely neighbour Doreen for letting us loose in their homes. Finally, thank you to Trev Preston for his expertise and to the Morrisroe family for being awesome!
If you'd like to get involved in Year of Spies in any role, from acting to assisting with production, from providing access to an interesting location to lending props and costumes, from sponsoring an episode to helping spread the word on social media, please get in touch with us, we need your help.