Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller the former Security Service MI5 Director General comments on the BBC prime time television drama "Spooks", the plots of which are getting increasingly hard to believe, whilst retaining the high gloss visual style and good dramatic tension :
The Sunday Times
November 18, 2007
Spooks leaves us out in the cold, says former MI5 chief
Richard Brooks, Arts Editor
A FORMER head of MI5 says the BBC series Spooks is "potentially damaging" to the work of Britain’s security service.
Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller says the show undermines MI5 by giving the impression the agency is above the law.
In Spooks Adam Carter, played by Rupert Penry-Jones, and his team regularly save the nation by bugging, burgling or blowing things up with abandon.
Interviewed for today's edition of Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4, Manningham-Buller said: "MI5 is not like Spooks. In Spooks everything is solved by half a dozen people who break laws to achieve results.
I think that given that we actually work strictly within the law, it is potentially quite damaging for the suggestion to prevail that we are totally above the law."
Her appearance is the first time a former spy chief has been interviewed for the long-running programme. Even the publicity conscious Dame Stella Rimington, who was the MI5 boss from 1992 to 1996, never took part.
Kirsty Young, the presenter, asks Manningham-Buller if she is going to emulate Rimington by writing her memoirs. "Most certainly not," she replies. "I think it would not only be wrong, but unproductive." Rimington, who is now a novelist, will be talking about her career on BBC4 on Wednesday.