Season 4 | Episode 9 | “Episode 39” | Aired Oct 2, 2015
The memorial shots are on me. In its next-to-last episode, Strike Back sent off Robson Green’s Lt. Col. Philip Locke the only way the show ever sends off main characters: in a blaze of glory.
Of course, his actual death was a bit underwhelming—shot in the chest in a sneak attack by someone he thought he could trust. But that only happened after Locke metaphorically flipped off Swiss military officials, stole one of their vehicles, and crashed it through the United Nations HQ in order to rescue Damien Scott and Michael Stonebridge, and keep Li-Na from falling into the wrong hands. And before that, he located the bomber who destroyed his family while trying to kill him, and shot him point-blank in the head. So if he had to be killed off, he died after going on one heck of a final tour of duty.
Being the commanding officer of Section 20 is like being a redshirt on Star Trek: You’re going to be killed. Locke follows in the footsteps of Col. Eleanor Grant (Amanda Mealing, who sacrificed herself at the end of the first Cinemax season) and Maj. Rachel Dalton (Rhona Mitra, who was killed after going off-book to stop a terror suspect).
But Locke was different from his predecessors, because he had a different rapport with Scott and Stonebridge, and a different history. He was introduced as a former SAS legend, and you believed it because he was played by a man who’s a British TV legend.
Robson Green had made his name repeatedly before he ever got to Strike Back (see: Soldier Soldier, Touching Evil, and Wire in the Blood; and you probably missed his great turn in legal drama Trust alongside future Strike Back predecessor Eva Birthistle), and yet still gave one of the best performances of his career as Locke.
Mostly because you could tell how much fun he was having. He fit in perfectly with the equally witty and down-to-earth Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton, like three guys just hanging out, carrying guns and saving the world. At the same time, you absolutely believed he could knock them upside the head when they deserved it.
But Locke’s demise represents the penultimate turning point for the final season, and not just because he’s the third main character to exit in the last five episodes. For one, he was on his way out from the beginning: as soon as the show introduced the ideas of Stonebridge leading Section 20 and of locating the man who killed Locke’s son. That’s arc-ending material.
All he could’ve done other than be killed was resign his post, and though that’s been said before, no one on this show has ever gone through with it. Especially in the last episode, the character seemed to know he was on the last chapter of his journey, and he reached the end this week.
His fate illustrates so much about this last season thematically. Locke represented a different type of soldier, the institution of Section 20, and a touchstone for Scott and Stonebridge. Killing him was like severing the line between our heroes and the unit they’d served for as long as we’d known them, forcing them to finally stand completely on their own.
Now Strike Back isn’t about whether or not Stonebridge can step up to lead the team; there’s no team to be led. It’s not about burying the hatchet from the past. The only thing the audience has to worry about is if Scott and Stonebridge are going to see tomorrow. With one act, this delightfully complex show distilled itself down to its most raw form. At the same time, it gave a fantastic character the absolutely correct exit.
The season allowed him to tie up his unfinished business, and then he died—because as Locke himself once said, soldiers don’t make good old men. Maybe it would’ve been cooler if he’d taken someone down with him, but otherwise, this was the way his story had to play out. Like Locke told Stonebridge, “It’s okay.”
We can now look back on him as that boss anyone would’ve loved to take orders from. The guy that was introduced literally getting out from behind his desk in Whitehall and flying to get his hands dirty with Section 20. Locke, over the years, did remarkable and fantastic things that were just so much fun to watch; this season alone he bulldozed a car, shot people off the side of a helicopter, and destroyed the lobby of the UN headquarters. And Green brought his great energy to the show, enthusiastic and self-deprecating, and game for just about anything Strike Back could throw at him.
Both character and actor were huge gets for the show, and both will be missed.
Green's character, Colonel Locke, is in a dramatic fight scene with Michelle Yeoh
Strike Back: Robson Green gets kicked by ballerina Michelle Yeoh in new series.
Telly favourite Robson Green was left red-faced when he got beaten up in the new series of Strike Back – by a woman.
Sky1’s military series blasts back on to the box next week for one final explosive adventure.
And star of kung fu movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Michelle Yeoh, 52, is making her TV debut as the baddie.
Robson, 50, who plays Colonel Locke, was knocked for six when he had to take her on in a brutal fight scene. He laughed: “I was in hand to-hand combat with Michelle, which was a real treat.
“It was less Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and more Crouching Hamster, Hidden Rabbit !
“The rehearsals were hilarious. She used to be a ballerina which is just phenomenal to behold. And then she’s coming at me. I had to remind her that in the script I was supposed to win! She’s so good at it.
“There’s this moment when we’re eight inches apart and her leg just came up and kicked me in the face. I was like, ‘What the f*** happened there ?’.
“It took me about four hours to get the fight routine right. It took her about four minutes.”
Daily Star, 24th May 2015
Strike Back star Robson Green says the final season of Strike Back will be "the most explosive yet". Green who plays Lt. Col. Philip Locke in the series admits that it has been an absolute joy to work on the show.
Robson Green reveals why the next Strike Back had to be the last.
Strike Back fans, Robson Green has revealed why the next series had to be the last.
Green - who plays Lt. Col. Philip Locke - told Digital Spy that the action thriller's next run gets "bigger and better" than before - and "couldn't really go anywhere else".
"You can't write a story like this, and then continue the series," he hinted. "So yeah, we knew it was going to go out with a bang. The storylines were so gripping and thrilling.
"It just got better and better and it couldn't really go anywhere else. But you should always leave your audience wanting more, and I think the finale does that. It really is a very emotional ending."
However, Green did reveal that, early on, that had been talk of Strike Back continuing - perhaps on a new network.
"They were talking about other companies wanting it," he revealed. "Like how Ripper Street went and then Amazon bought it - that kind of chat was happening.
"There was chat of a movie [as well] and you never say never - but towards the end, we knew it was definite that it wasn't going to go again."
Production on the final series of Strike Back was disrupted last year when star Sullivan Stapleton (Damien Scott) was injured off-set.
"I love Sully and it was very upsetting," Green said of the incident. "He was badly hurt - proper badly hurt, and the gravitas of that actually had so many implications. He wasn't in a good way - but he's great now."
Stapleton's injury neccessitated the actor being replaced by doubles in some scenes.
"It was like a f**king Picasso painting!" Green laughed. "Sully wasn't in a lot of the scenes - we had to double him and re-shoot. So yeah, it was really difficult."
Digital Spy, Morgan Jeffery, Monday, Jun 1 2015
Robson Green: 'Strike Back's final series is the best yet'
Robson Green has teased the final series of Strike Back, which airs later this year.
The actor and presenter stars as Colonel Philip Locke in the Sky1 and Cinemax action series, which returns after a two-year gap due to an injury to co-star Sullivan Stapleton.
"It's the best yet," he said. "Michael Bassett directs an absolutely thrilling end to what has been an incredible action series for television.
"What an experience, hitting 50 and taking on North Korea and saving the western world from a missile attack."
Green said that he continues to enjoy filming action scenes, despite hitting the age milestone last year.
"The action scenes are fine - [with] any series you've got to look after yourself," he explained.
"There's this wonderful guy I've trained with forever called Adam Shepherd. He actually just texted me five minutes ago saying, 'Are you ready for a good workout tomorrow?' At least four times a week I'll train with him, just keeping in shape for those things.
"So when it says on paper 'Locke takes out four Yakuza unharmed and then runs 200 metres at high speed firing as he goes and takes out another 17 of the enemy, jumps into a helicopter that then explodes in air but lands in a jungle and still lives to tell the tale' it's great fun to do. There's great stuntmen but usually it's us doing them."
Green also spoke about his ITV series Grantchester, which achieved high ratings for its debut series in 2014.
"It got great figures, James Norton is an absolute darling to work with and it's probably one of the happiest drama shoots I've ever been on," he said.
"It was such a wonderful and professional shoot, and socially I get on with James wonderfully, and I think that shows on the lens. That relationship really works.
"He just finished Lady Chatterley's Lover and he's now doing War & Peace, so he sends me pictures of him in a wheelchair playing Lady Chatterley's husband, and I'm sending him pictures of me holding a Golden Dorado in Bolivia [for Ultimate Catch] ! I think I win in that imagery.
"I'm always superseding his pictures. He'd send me one of a film set, and then I'd send him one of me with the Guarani tribe in the Bolivian jungle with a jaguar in the background !"
Digital Spy, Tom Eames, Wednesday, Jan 21 2015
Robson Green admits he struggles to perform his own stunts since turning 50.
The former Soldier Soldier star plays a former SAS hero in his latest drama series and will be leaving some of the scarier stunts to the professionals.
Robson Green has admitted he struggles to perform his own stunts on set, now that he has reached the age of 50.
The actor, who plays a former SAS hero in his latest drama series, said that he ‘knows his limitations’ when it comes to risky action scenes.
The former Soldier Soldier star is appearing in upcoming Sky 1 series Strike Back: Legacy.
The role sees the star trying to avenge his son’s death and features a number of explosive action sequences.
He said: “One minute you’re landing a helicopter on a moving train and the next minute that train explodes and you’re in a fire fight.
“We’ve been doing a lot more stunts this year.
“This year I was driving a digger which has a car in the bucket, which explodes while I’m driving and being shot at.
“Paul, our military advisor, does double up for me so he will do some of the stunts.
“How do we decide? I look at it and say, ‘Paul, I’m scared’, so he goes in! I know my limitations.”
The actor shot to fame in 1991 playing Fusilier Dave Tucker in Soldier Soldier, a series which ran until 1995.
He has since gone on to star in Wire in the Blood between 2002 and 2008.
He appears in the his latest drama series alongside actors Philip Winchester, Sullivan Stapleton and Michelle Yeoh.
He added: “There was a driving sequence and I had quality cargo in Sully, Phil and Michelle Yeoh.
“If they weren’t inside I wouldn’t have cared. But you look at them and just think, ‘Nah, I’ll leave it to the professionals’.
The actor revealed he's a regular at the gym to stay fit and in shape for his roles.
Asked how he maintains his fitness to play demanding roles on screen, he said: “Last year I was doing five days in the gym, this time it’s a couple.
“You have to keep fit for the show otherwise you’ll be exposed.
“On paper it says, ‘they run to the helicopter while under fire’. That’s quite difficult and takes a lot of energy, especially in the heat.”
Mirror, 24 May 2015
'This series of Strike Back is off the scale !'
Robson Green : 'Strike Back is not normal action TV. It's off the scale !'
Prepare for spectacular explosions and death-defying stunts as the final series of Sky one's action-packed SAS drama Strike Back hits our screens in June.
Robson Green will be returning as Lt Col Locke and the former Soldier, Soldier star told us the show will be going out with a bang and this is biggest and best series yet.
The fifth series begins with Section 20 heading to Thailand to try and rescue the daughter of the British Ambassador, who's been kidnaped by terrorists, in a plot that will eventually lead them to North Korea...
"Just when you thought the explosions couldn't get any bigger and the stunts couldn't get any better - they do!" Robson told us. "These are action movies for television, they really are. This is not normal action TV, it's off the scale. These are stunts and special effects the like of which we'll never see again."
Yet the series nearly didn't happen at all because Robson's co-star Sullivan Stapleton was nearly killed after suffering an accident during filming last year.
"It was an upsetting time," explains Robson. "I was very upset when I got the call about what had happened. The image of someone you care about and love... he could have lost his life. But it was a tough time for everybody, accidents happen. Thank goodness for many things and the amazing people who saved his life in hospital.
"Once he got back to full fitness, I kicked the sh*t out of him ! Don't ever do that to me again !"
Robson also had great success with period drama Grantchester this year and can't wait to get back on set for the second series...
"I'm looking forward to getting back to Cambridge," he says. "I loved working alongside James Norton, he's an absolute darling !"
Strike Back returns to Sky 1 on Wednesday, June 3.
What's on TV, Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Robson Green has a blast with Strike Back stunts.
Robson Green has revealed how he had to overcome his acrophobia for the new series of Strike Back.
The actor had to get over his fear of heights for some action scenes in the new series of the Sky1 show.
The 50-year-old actor reprises his role as Lieutenant Colonel Philippe Locke, a former SAS-operative, in Sky 1′s white-knuckle action drama, which returns for its fifth and final series on June 3.
Robson admitted: “I’m not good with heights. I love flying – I wanted to be a pilot before I was an actor, believe it or not. But stuff on tall buildings overlooking the edge, which we’ve done a few of those, I do get horrendous vertigo. That is really tough for me.”
He had to get over his fear for a stunt, where he had to hang out of a helicopter.
“The most dangerous stunt I had to do was to hang out of a hawk helicopter at night firing a grenade launcher at the enemy whilst trying to rescue Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) and Stonebridge (Philip Winchester)… when you pull them out under fire,” the actor added.
“And that was pretty hairy in a very, very enclosed space, going into an inhabited square with people firing at you and explosions going off. We were very, very close, it was really on the edge. But what a blast. What a blast, it was terrific.”
Robson – also known for his fishing programmes – threw himself into getting into shape for the show, which was delayed due to Sullivan’s off-set injury.
“Preparation for Strike Back was everything for me. I’m over 50 – I know I don’t look a day over 35 – and had I attempted what was requested in the script and not trained, it would have been a physical impossibility,” he said.
“So me and this wonderful human being called Adam Shepherd, my personal trainer, just got me physically and mentally prepared for the task ahead. It’s probably the first time in my 30-year career that I really focused on becoming physically and mentally fit for a part.
“You have to be, because you’ll be sorely found out if you don’t put in the prep physically. Luckily for me they asked me to do quite a few stunts. A lot of running and jumping, and jumping with explosions, hanging out of helicopters, it’s just great.”
Michelle Yeoh makes her small-screen debut on Strike Back: Legacy, alongside Tim McInnerny and Max Beesley.
“I get to fight with Michelle Yeoh. She’s the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and I’m more your kneeling hamster, crawling gerbil guy,” Robson joked.
The star continued: “It is the fifth and final series of Strike Back. It is an action TV show like no other in the history of television.
“You’ve got to remind yourself that these are action movies for television. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, any more thrilling, any more explosive, any more dramatic, any more emotional, any more awesome, it does and it’s the truth.”
Robson added: “What’s unique about the finale is that it is very much about the relationships and personal feelings about themselves and what they’re doing, and what they represent and their self worth.
“You can expect a very gripping journey. Of course, it’s going to be explosive, but the relationships win in this series and everybody in the main cast has a personal journey that somehow they feel they need to complete.”