Strike Back's latest season shot entirely in Malaysia

British-born actor Jamie Bamber, 45, plays Colonel Alexander Coltrane in television series Strike Back.
British-born actor Jamie Bamber, 45, plays Colonel Alexander Coltrane in television series Strike Back.PHOTO: HBO

SINGAPORE - In the latest season of television series Strike Back, the glimmering Petronas Twin Towers and the iconic Kuala Lumpur Tower dominate the backdrop of some scenes.

After all, the action-adventure drama's sixth season, which premiered on Saturday (Jan 26), is shot entirely in Malaysia.

And for British-born actor Jamie Bamber, 45, who plays Colonel Alexander Coltrane, the new commanding officer of a team of covert special-ops soldiers, filming there for six months presented both joys and challenges, such as having to brave the heat and humidity.

On the show, the soldiers are sent to investigate when a Russian bomber crashes into the South China Sea.

Speaking to journalists on Monday (Jan 28) in a group phone interview from London, where he lives, Bamber revealed that while it was his first experience shooting in Malaysia, he had previously visited the country as an 18-year-old backpacker.

"It is impressive to see how much the economy has changed," he said, but added that there was a downside to this.

Noting the abundance of high-rise buildings, he said: "There were places which I saw the first time that were gone... but it is the way of global capitalism."

For the father of three teenage daughters, being in Southeast Asia gave him the chance to see proboscis monkeys and orang utans in Borneo and spend a week in Vietnam with his family.

The husband of English actress Kerry Norton said: "Those personal moments shared with my kids were very special indeed.

"They remind me on a daily basis that they miss Malaysia and they wish they can go back."

A newcomer to the cast, Bamber also spent time with his fellow cast members, including Warren Brown, Daniel MacPherson and Alin Sumarwata. In particular, he spent many an evening enjoying the food and bars of Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Singapore with Brown, he said.

On the show, the trio play his unruly subordinates, whose ill-disciplined ways create tension between them and him.

But Bamber qualified this friction is on-screen only.

"Off-screen, they are all wonderful fun. They were very welcoming and I was in awe of them.

"Warren has a previous career as a Muay Thai boxer. Dan is an amazing triathlete. And I have watched Alin strip an AK-47 or M40 rifle down to its bare bones and (put it) back again... without even thinking about it."

"We all got on super well," he said, adding that the glue and love between the core characters is the most important part of the show.

"It is about putting yourself in the line of fire for one of your colleagues, and never leaving anyone behind."

Strike Back airs on Saturdays at 11am, at the same time as the United States, on Cinemax (StarHub TV Channel 611). It is also available on HBO Go and HBO On Demand (StarHub TV Channel 602).