Michelle Keegan (Coronation Street, Tina and Bobby) is back as Corporal Georgie Lane for another series of BBC One's war drama Our Girl.
Keegan took over the lead role in series two, replacing EastEnders star Lacey Turner who played army medic Molly Dawes in the first series.
Written and created by Tony Grounds and made by BBC Studios, this outing to Nigeria, Belize and Bangladesh follows last September’s Nepal Tour.
Still grieving and heartbroken from the death of fiancé and Special Forces agent Elvis Harte, Georgie returns to the front line and is sent to Nigeria on a training mission alongside 2-Section. Working as part of the British Army’s effort to help train local forces in the fight against terror, Georgie is helping to train local medics and overseeing a local women’s health initiative but soon is put on edge when she encounters a local crime boss and a seemingly ruthless band of mercenaries in the village near where a group of local school girls have been abducted.
How many episodes are there?
The next tour will consist of eight episodes.
Where was it filmed?
Filming took place in South Africa and Malaysia last year.
Who are the cast and characters?
Corporal Georgie Lane
Gutsy, passionate and unstoppable, Georgie is an army medic from Stockport who relishes the adrenaline that comes with the adventures of her work. Having completed a number of tours, she’s proven she has strength, courage and, above all, a big heart. Georgie’s decision to join the army has since led her to the front line in Afghanistan, where she met her first true love and heartbreak, Elvis.
How is Georgie coping after the death of Elvis?
She’s had six months out for grievance purposes and is now throwing herself into work. She’s definitely not over Elvis at all and you’ll see throughout the episodes that his death has really affected her.
Was it strange filming without Luke Pasqualino?
It was really, really strange. Luke and I started on the series at the same time together and it was so odd when he left. It was like a hole and I definitely missed him. We literally started the next episode the day after Elvis died. Luke left on a Thursday and on a Friday we started to film Episode 5. It took a long time for me to adjust as all our storylines were always based around Georgie and Elvis and the ‘will they, won’t they’ situation. So when he wasn’t there, I had to have a different mind-set. She still wears his engagement ring around her neck, which was my idea, as she loved him so much and he was the love of her life. I thought it was a nice idea to have a part of him with her at all times.
Did you get any reaction on Twitter to Elvis’ death?
Oh my god, I was in Malaysia at the time and it was 6:00am when it aired in the UK. I looked at my phone and it had gone crazy. What was great was that it hadn’t been released that Elvis was going to get killed so it was obviously a massive shock for the audience who follow the story. I just remember that all the women’s hearts on Twitter were broken that night.
Tell us about new character Bones?
Bones is played by Olly Rix who you first meet when he is undercover. They get off to a rocky start as Georgie sees him in Nigeria where he throws a child out of his way. But obviously goodie two shoes Georgie won’t stand for that and ends up confronting him. You soon see that he is the Head of Special Forces and has taken over Elvis’ role but he is totally different. He’s very angry all the time, very old school and isn’t emotionally led, he also hasn’t got a friendship with Captain James. However you see him and 2 Section build a relationship which is really exciting.
Captain James (Ben Aldridge)
A charismatic leader and brilliant officer, Captain James is an army man to the core and well respected by the men who fight alongside him. The consummate professional, he had no problem keeping his private and his personal life separate - until he met army medic and now wife, Molly Dawes, while on tour in Afghanistan. However behind closed doors, Captain James battles many demons.
Where do we find Captain James at the start of this tour?
As ever, we find Captain James trying to lose himself in his work. He's lost his best friend, Elvis, in the Afghanistan mission and is quietly grieving while trying to remain strong for both Georgie Lane and the rest of 2-Section. Georgie’s welfare is of particular concern to him and he now feels she is his responsibility more than ever. James isn't yet sure how accountable he is for Elvis' death or whether anything could have been done differently to prevent it and is therefore haunted by this. He steadily becomes more war weary than ever and starts to question his future with the British Army - but he's not the only one asking that question.
What can fans expect from this tour?
The usual premise of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, plus some very unexpected personal developments between some members of 2-Section. Nigeria, Belize and Bangladesh provide complicated socio-political backdrops making their work challenging and dynamic. We have car chases, armed combat, kidnapping, jungle fever, helicopters, and explosions of the heart and mind!
This series of Our Girl was filmed as one big block last year. Do you still keep in contact with the rest of 2-Section?
Yes! We're all good friends! We've spent so much time together, working together, traveling three continents together and socialising together so we are a tight group. We have a WhatsApp group that regularly changes its name. I think it’s called 'Flakes on a Plane' right now…
Do we hear any news about Molly at all in these episodes?
Molly and James are going through a tough time. They've been apart for months and that puts pressure on the relationship. James is also suffering from losing Elvis and although he's buried it from 2-Section, he is experiencing symptoms of PTSD and Molly is the only one who knows.
Bones/Captain McClyde (Olly Rix)
Tell us about your character, Bones?
He’s a tricky kind of guy. He’s abrasive, brash and yet highly competent as a soldier. He’s somewhat arrogant and intolerant of what he sees as pointless bureaucracy or anything that prevents him from doing his job. Ultimately, for all his naughtiness, he’s a decent man with a healthy disrespect for authority; he’s extremely focused on his missions and bailing out 2- Section every five minutes.
Our Girl has a big cast that had been working together for a while – did you feel like the new boy?
I think there was a very strong bond between the pre-existing cast, but Bones is Special Forces and initially separate from them. So actually, whilst I liked the cast very much, I kept my distance from them for as long as I could so that on screen we remained separate entities. That’s just my way of working but they are lovely though! They’re a fun group to be around, and when Bones gets closer to them as the story develops, I did enjoy spending time relentlessly screaming at them!
How did you find filming in the intense heat?
It was trying. It’s fine, fun even, when you are in a jungle context and screaming round shooting at enemies or jumping in and out of jungle rivers. But once you’ve got dress uniform on... it can be horrendous!
Georgie takes an instant dislike to Bones when they first meet. Does she become friendlier towards him?
They have a turbulent friendship. But one that I think becomes mutually, albeit grudgingly, respectful in the end. They do a lot to test one another - Georgie does things that endangers others and compromises missions, and Bones definitely isn’t a fan of that. However on a deeper and more interesting level, there’s a maverick element about Georgie that is driven by quite a restless desire to help others. Bones has exactly the same streak and so I think he quietly finds it very admirable. There’s a kindred-spirit sort of understanding in there somewhere, beneath layers of glaring at one another. Both Georgie and Bones want to save people’s lives, and both of them don’t always take the conventional route towards doing so.
Were you a fan of Our Girl before you joined the show?
I’ve already admitted to Tony that I hadn’t seen it beforehand! Years ago I actually auditioned for Captain James and met Lacey Turner a couple of times to read various scenes. Ben, of course, was a much better choice and the rest is history, but I never had an opportunity to see it after that. I was very aware of it being successful though and it was lovely to have a chance to come into the show in a different capacity and be involved. The entire team were lovely and I hope this season lives up to expectations.
Private Maisie Richards (Shalom Brune-Franklin)
Brash and fearless, Maisie has always been front and centre of any group within which she finds herself. A free spirit, she often pokes fun at Georgie’s traditional ideas of love and romance. Maisie is from a typical working class background and has worked hard to become a skilled driver, but is eager to prove herself as a capable and fearless fighter.
Rab (Harki Bhambra)
Along with Maisie, Rab was a newcomer to 2-Section last series. "He’s from Leeds and he’s a Muslim," said Tony Grounds. “He’s a young guy who could have gone to university but chose to join the army. Patriotic, funny, bright as a button – he puts Brains to shame because Brains has got a few GCSEs but Rab has got A levels.”
The gang’s tour to Nepal saw Rab and Maisie get closer – especially when Rab was injured – but will his endless attempts to strike up a romance have any effect?
Harki Bhambra previously starred in E4 comedy Drifters, Two Doors Down, Hospital People andDoctor Who episode The Magician’s Apprentice.
Brains (Simon Lennon)
Brains was always seen as the clever one in 2-Section – until the arrival of Rab. But as we pick up the new series, something else is troubling Brains.
Simon Lennon previously starred in Grantchester, The Dark Room and stage shows including Our Town and Tory Boyz.
Elvis Harte (Luke Pasqualino)
Elvis is a cheeky Londoner who has grown into a remarkable leader, joining the SAS selection after a number of tours with the army. Fearless, self-confident and cool under pressure, Elvis has worked across both covert and overt operations fighting for counter terrorism and drug operations in the Middle and Far East, Afghanistan, and, most recently, Syria. Elvis was killed off at the end of the Bangladesh Tour episodes in 2017.
Mollie Dawes (Lacey Turner)
The original lead character in Our Girl was Mollie, a wild youngster who was born and poorly raised in the London Borough of Newham and lived with her parents and four younger siblings. The pilot and first series followed her journey through the army ranks and first trip to Afghanistan.
Her story also involved a love triangle with Smurf (Iwan Rheon) and Captain Charles James (Ben Aldridge).
Speaking about a possible return in 2017, Lacey told the Radio Times: "It’s so hard, I’m so busy at EastEnders, it’s really hard to get away and to take that up again.
"I loved playing her, I’m a huge, huge fan of Our Girl. I don’t know.”
Creator Tony Grounds said: "If she ever wanted to do it she’s only got to ring me up – she knows that. I think it’s all about logistics. I don’t know how EastEnders works and we’re invariably filming abroad. But I love that Molly Dawes character."
Episode 6 preview
2 Section have the camp on lockdown as Inspector Chowdhrey explains that the refugee route might be being exploited by yaba dealers, a local drug coming over the border from Myanmar. When Georgie meets Maya, a sex worker and yaba addict who is being treated at the clinic, she starts investigations of her own.
The final Our Girl episodes will air on Monday, July 23rd and Tuesday, July 24th.
Never miss an episode with BT TV – catch up via the BBC iPlayer app.