The This Life and Love Actually actor swaps rom-coms for guns and bombs in the SAS drama based on the hit novel by Chris Ryan…

This is a massive budget drama – is it exciting to be involved in such a big project?
“It’s unusual to see this scale of story on our channels. It’s a really ambitious project and great that Sky are putting money into drama like this. For an actor too, yeah it’s great to be doing something this visually exciting.”

Tell us about your character, Hugh Collinson…
“When the series first starts we see him in the SAS, along with another soldier, John Porter (Richard Armitage) in Iraq during a hostage situation that goes badly wrong. Then, in present day, Collinson heads up ‘Section 20’ which is a branch of military intelligence that works very closely with Special Forces. He hires Porter as a security guard and the story unfolds from there.”

Do we learn more about the hostage situation?
“Yes, that’s the spine of the series – all is not what it seems with that.”

You must’ve done lots of training to play an SAS soldier?
“Well I have two small kids so I’m pretty fit from running around after them, but yes, we did hit the gym. We were trained by someone on how to handle guns and things like that. That was great. It’s like Jim’ll Fix It this job. It isn’t often you get to run around and shoot things. It’s a boys’ own adventure and I’ve thoroughly embraced it.”

People aren’t used to seeing you as a hard man…
“What are you saying? I’m a wimp? No, I suppose it’s a bit different for me, but I really enjoyed it. My next job is in America in a series where I chase vampires so I’m graduating to action hero…”

There was lots of controversy recently over your Twitter account, where you posted lots of drunken tweets…
“It isn’t me! It must have been a fake. I don’t even know what Twitter is so I’m not sure what all that was about…”

*Strike Back screens on Sky1 on Wednesdays