Barbara Machin creating Spooks-style police drama for BBC1

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Waking the Dead creator Barbara Machin is penning a new BBC1 drama described as “Spooks meets Hurt Locker”.

The six-part series, currently in development with the Corporation, is called Cold Zero – a sniper’s term for the moment a rifle’s sight is fixed lethally on a target.

Machin said the drama series follows an elite police unit created to respond to the “extremes of suicide bombers, snipers, rampant gunmen, sieges, high school shootings, robberies, abductions and assassination attempts”.

“It has a Spooks feel, but the team is a super-emergency one, dealing with all too common emergency situations that rapidly escalate these days, where you have to throw at the situations some elite skills,” she said.

The writer revealed that the team at the heart of the drama series, for which she is writing the first episode, comprises five people, including a bomb disposal expert and a sniper, both of whom are female characters.

She added that no such team exists within the police today, but said: “The component parts of it do and mobilise as such very regularly. It’s a bit like the leap I took with Waking the Dead. That team did not literally exist the moment I invented them, but they fairly rapidly did, and those kind of people did often group together as it happened anyway.”

Machin, who this month will chair a panel at the London Screenwriters’ Festival, described the drama as a “high-octane crime series for BBC1 providing boys’ stories which girls will love too”.

It is being developed with the BBC’s in-house drama department.