Viewers of Channel 4’s new four-part series ‘Spies’ will see the QEII Centre’s marketing manager, Roopi Woodall, temporarily give up her day job as she discovers if she’s got what it takes to be part of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Services.
Starting on Thursday 5 January, the new series from the makers of ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’, sees three former spies put Roopi and 14 other candidates to the test to see if they have the skills and qualities required to fight the invisible war against a multitude of hidden threats.
They go through a series of exercises based on the ‘Intelligence Officer New Entry Course’ – an intense, unsettling psychological experiment run by people who’ve been through the real thing.
As their raw intelligence, powers of persuasion and talent for concealment are put under the microscope, the ex-spies judge who has the character, wit, values and moral compass needed to make it through to the end.
As part of the process that was filmed in early September, Roopi and her fellow trainees all live together in an isolated base on the south coast of England and are monitored 24/7 by a team of former spies, known as Control, who between them have 45 years’ experience working with the British Intelligence Services. Unbeknown to the trainees, Control also has a man on the inside, a mole who is secretly gathering intelligence.
The first episode focuses on two training exercises – surveillance and alias. In the middle of a busy south London market, the trainees are tasked to follow a target covertly. The trainees must show their skill at coming up with cover stories, and prove to Control that they can win people over with confidence and charisma.
Roopi said: “This is by far one of the most challenging but worthwhile experiences I have ever taken part in. I wanted to test myself and this experience helped me find emotional reserves that I never knew I had.”