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Every day, Britain's Secret Intelligence Services are fighting an invisible war against a host of hidden threats. In this series, three former spies put a diverse group of men and women to the test to see if they have the skills and qualities required for that battle.

Spies sees them go through a series of exercises based on the Intelligence Officer New Entry Course (IONEC) - an intense, ultimately inspiring psychological experiment run by people who’ve been through the real thing. As the 14 trainees’ raw intelligence, powers of persuasion and talent for concealment are put under the microscope, the ex-Spies (known as “Control) judge who has the character, wit, and confidence needed to make it through to the end.

As the course progresses, any “James Bond” illusions are shattered as only the most adaptable and capable survive. The trainees are forced to find strength and abilities that they didn’t even know they possessed, whilst being watched 24/7 by “Control”. The series mixes the visual flair of an espionage thriller with emotional story telling . Experimental, fixed-rig footage is combined with cinematically shot observational camerawork - including drones and hidden cameras.

More information on the format Spies is available here.


  • 4 x 60' - Also Available As Format


  • Factual Entertainment


  • Motion Content Group
  • Minnow Films

Commissioning Broadcaster

  • Channel 4


Year of production

  • 2016-2017