Britain is brought to the brink in the new series of COBRA by cyber-terrorists with a chilling agenda… Ruin Britannia!
- PM Robert Sutherland thought he had a lot on his plate in first series of COBRA
- But new series of Sky’s thriller sees the Prime Minister having to face cyberwars
- PM also tackles an exploding munitions ship and a tidal wave on the Kent coast
Prime Minister Robert Sutherland thought he had a lot on his plate in the acclaimed first series of COBRA last year, when a solar flare disabled the National Grid, leaving much of Britain without power and creating violent social unrest and political chaos for the government.
But the new series of Sky’s edge-of-the-seat thriller sees him having to tackle cyberwars, an exploding munitions ship and a tidal wave on the Kent coast.
Britain has been plunged into crisis again by a computer virus that disables not only government systems but the mobile phone network too, and when a tidal wave floods the Kent coast after a shipwreck full of explosives on the bed of the Thames explodes, the COBRA committee, convened at times of national emergency and made up of government ministers and advisers, must try to manage the disasters.
Prime Minister Robert Sutherland (pictured centre) thought he had a lot on his plate in the acclaimed first series of COBRA last year
‘The situation is desperate and frightening,’ says Robert Carlyle, the Trainspotting star who plays the PM. ‘When government officials stare at their laptops they simply see the chilling message “Ruin Britannia” from whoever carried out the cyber attack.’
Later in the series the hackers strike again, breaking into the computer system that flags up hazardous loads in vehicles entering the port of Dover from Europe. Hundreds of lorries leave the terminal unchecked and could be driving around Britain with deadly payloads. One of them, it turns out, is doing just that…
This new series of COBRA shifts its focus more towards politics and espionage instead of some of the personal storylines that were to the fore in series one.
Sutherland’s daughter Ellie, for example – a key character in the original COBRA – has been despatched to Chile to avoid further social media flak following her involvement in a drugs scandal.
His lawyer wife Rachel (Lucy Cohu) is still around, however, and it’s her professional life – some potentially unethical conduct – that threatens to force her husband out of Downing Street.
‘It’s one of many challenges Sutherland faces,’ says Robert. ‘He only has a small majority in parliament and must bring his troublesome former Home Secretary Archie Glover-Morgan, played by David Haig, back into government when the going gets tough. That sets him on a collision course with his Chief of Staff Anna Marshall, who can’t bear Archie.’
In fact Sutherland faces so many challenges in this new series that you begin to wonder if he did something wrong in a previous life to deserve it.
But the new series of Sky’s edge-of-the-seat thriller sees him having to tackle cyberwars, an exploding munitions ship and a tidal wave on the Kent coast. Pictured, Sutherland at the helm in a COBRA meeting
‘But isn’t that the nature of politics?’ says Robert. ‘I think every politician can be unlucky, it goes with the territory. Although that’s not the reason I’d run a mile if anybody suggested I sought political office in real life. I think it’s a strange thing to want to do, this desire for power. And it’s tough. I’d give it a wide berth.’
The tidal wave plotline is based on a real situation, writer Ben Richards says – a sunken American ship containing munitions lying at the bottom of the Thames Estuary.
The SS Richard Montgomery has been stranded on the Nore sandbank near Sheerness since August 1944 and still has 1,500 tons of munitions on board, although experts reckon the chances of it exploding are rembote.
‘I hope I don’t give the people of Kent sleepless nights by featuring a similar type of ship exploding and causing a tidal wave,’ says Ben. ‘Our story imagines a worst-case scenario that will probably never come to pass.’
COBRA: CYBERWAR, Friday, 9pm, Sky Max.