Series eight of hit BBC spy drama Spooks recently returned to our screens. We caught up with star Richard Armitage to find out what’s new in the show…

How would you describe the latest series of Spooks?
“We have gone into deeper, darker territory. It’s been quite an intense shoot. The scripts are much more ambitious this year – they’re much more dense and the political landscape is ever changing. It keeps you on your toes.”

What do we discover about Lucas this year?
“We scratched the surface in the first series but this year we revisit in more depth what happened to him. Somebody – a nemesis – arrives, an interrogator from the past and takes him into that murky world again.”

So Russia is still involved?
“Not as heavily as last year. This year it’s India, Pakistan and China that feature heavily but everyone, including America and Russia, all have their finger in the pie. So we’ve got baddies scattered throughout all of these nations and they’re all meeting in a secret clandestine group called Nightingale. They’re plotting something horrendous.”

Is there still a feeling you could be a double agent in this series?
“I’m very clear about Lucas’s loyalty but I suppose from an outside in point of view, i.e. from the rest of the team, the trust is still being built.”

Does he have any romance this year?
“In this series he enters into a relationship with CIA liaison officer Sarah Caulfield who has trouble written all over her. From the minute he sees her she’s this incredibly beautiful, statuesque, powerful woman who is irresistible but also plays power games and gets off on that struggle.

“I think that he’s monitored by his team because he’s been compromised in the past. The fact he’s been caught and imprisoned in Russia means he has this fatal flaw in him and there’s always the potential for somebody to stumble and fall again. There’s a maverick in Lucas. He enjoys the thrill of the chase.”

Do you think you’ve raised the bar this year?
“I hope so! They feel more ambitious. When there’s a fight sequence or a special effect or a siege or something all of us meet and the director increases the stakes and makes it look more real.”

Any good stunts?
“One of the trickiest things I had to do this year was a fight in a swimming pool, which was quite tough to do. It’s really hard to fight in a pool, everything is in automatic slow motion! It’s almost like a nightmare because you can’t move and you’re trying to run, I had dreams about it.”

Would you be happy to come back for another series?
“Yeah! There’s a big cliffhanger in episode eight though – you don’t know who’s gone and who’s survived.”

Spooks series eight starts on Wednesday November 4 at 9pm on BBC1.