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Vicky McClure on her new spy spoof - My first thoughts were: ‘I’m going to be an M… This is my Judi Dench moment!'

Action Team Vicky McClure on her first ever sitcom
(Image credit: Shiny Button / ITV)

Vicky McClure on playing an inept MI6 boss in her first sitcom

Think of Vicky McClure and serious, dark dramas, such as Line of Duty, The Replacement, Broadchurch or This Is England, spring to mind.

But on Monday, the Nottingham-born actress is totally out of her comfort zone as she stars in ITV2’s new spy spoof, Action Team.

The six-parter follows a team of dysfunctional secret agents tasked with saving the world. Vicky plays their beleaguered boss, Ruth, who struggles to keep her spies, including James Bond-like Logan (played by Murder in Successville star Tom Davis, who also co-created Action Team) and geeky Graham (Horrible Histories’ Jim Howick), in check.

James Bond meets Mission Impossible action with The Naked Gun-style humour in this six-part spy spoof.

Mission impossible: Ruth tries to control her hapless team

In Monday's opening double-bill, Ruth sends her team to stop a bomb going off in Vienna, but when new recruit Huxley (Kayode Ewumi) – who’s only on work experience – blows their cover, will the operation be in jeopardy?

Line of Duty star Vicky McClure reveals all about ITV2 comedy Action Team...

This isn’t the type of show we’d usually expect to see you in…

Vicky McClure: "I know! This is my first proper comedy. But I’ve actually felt quite comfortable. It’s all there in the writing, though, so there’s no pressure for me to drop one-liners in the right place, thank God!"

What made you want to do it?

VM: “I always get a bit nervous when receiving a comedy script, especially because Tom Davis is a mate. But I read it and laughed out loud. It’s so different. I called Tom straight back and said, ‘I’ve not even reached the end yet, but I’m doing it!’ “

So tell us about Ruth…

VM: “She’s an MI6 boss, so my first thoughts were: ‘I’m going to be an M… This is my Judi Dench moment!’ But she’s more than that, and I can’t tell you the pleasure I get out of being a person who is so horrific! It’s my dream role."

Have you had to improvise?

VM: “Yes, loads! But I’m not scared of improvising because I did it for such a long time on This Is England, which was a very dark show, but there were lots of lighter moments. I always kept to the script in Line of Duty, so I suppose Action Team is a beautiful mixture.”

Viewers may be surprised to see you playing for laughs…

“What can you do? Not do a comedy in case it freaks people out? Action Team came along at exactly the right time. It was meant to be… and it’s hilarious!”

Action Team is on ITV2 on Monday at 10.00pm.

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!