As Spooks faces the final curtain on Sunday, and most of us cross our fingers for a happy ending for the top Spook and his favourite analyst, it seems
appropriate to welcome Harry Pearce and his almost-permanently clenched jaw into the PLA
Spooks has given us much more conventional eye-candy over the years (Adam, Lucas and Dimitri, for example), but ten years’ exposure to Harry’s buttoned-up persona, super-dry wit and botched wooing of Ruth has left me with a soft spot for the head of Section D.
In our X Factor, look-at-me, sex-sells world, Harry’s understated, but always totally dedicated, approach shines like a diamond in a pile of ordure.
Like my other favourite spy (Michael Westen), Harry may be the best in the intelligence business, but is undone time and again by his inability to manage his relationship with the woman he loves, Ruth Evershed.
Their relationship is like something out of a Jane Austen novel, all meaningful glances, misunderstandings, witty banter, brief touches of hands, bad timing and other people’s problems getting in the way. (Although as I recall, there weren’t quite so many dirty bombs and terrorists in Pride and Prejudice.)
I love the fact that the Harry and Ruth relationship has grown from the genuine affection and chemistry between Peter Firth and Nicola Walker. You really should hear the two of them talking on Radio 4 Extra while you can. Not only is it a lovely interview, it’s a chance to wallow in Peter’s wonderful voice too.
Now imagine that voice reading out these lines (just some of Harry’s greatest hits):
HOME SECRETARY: You know, back in my days as a student radical, our dreams were all about the glorious proletariat.
HARRY: We’ve still got those dreams on file somewhere.
JOHN RUSSELL: What aren’t you telling me, Harry?
HARRY: John, I’ve been up all night, my psychic powers are at a low ebb. Please elaborate.
FERNANDO TORRES: La vida no vale nada, as they say.
HARRY: Not an expression we hear very much around these parts, but then again we did have rather more success in seeing off the Spanish than you.
HARRY: Did I not say to shut that bloody journalist up? We’re supposed to be MI-5, not the Stoke Newington branch of the Green Party.
HARRY: I’m aware I have not played nicely with the other children.
HOME SECRETARY: Would it have killed you to pick up a golf club every once in a while?
HARRY: It may well have done, yes.
DIMITRI: How was your, er, um, break?
HARRY: In one particularly dark moment I actually considered gardening.
Farewell then Harry. All that remains is to keep our fingers crossed that he and Ruth get a good ending. For the rest of us, well, there’s always the boxed sets to fall back on…
Posted by Jo the Hat