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Spooks actor subjected to real waterboarding for TV show

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Chris Irvine
London Telegraph
Monday, Oct 27, 2008

The popular spy series, which follows a team of MI5 agents, will show actor Richard Armitage endure the form of torture that simulates drowning.

Waterboarding involves the subject being placed on their backs and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages while they have a cloth blocking their airways.

Armitage, who has also starred as Sir Guy of Gisborne in the BBC’s Robin Hood, plays Lucas North, a British agent who has spent eight years in a Russian prison, and is released on a prisoner exchange deal.

(Article continues below)

He said he agreed to the scene because he initially believed the FSB, the Russian intelligence service, and the CIA, that it was “a humane way of extracting information without hurting people”.

Following his experience, however, he said he had changed his mind.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

He explained: “You start to breathe in and out, but when the water just fills everywhere up it just hits you. It changed my opinion completely.”

He told The Times: “I realised that it really is a form of torture that shouldn’t be used. I only lasted five to 10 seconds, and the sound of my voice crying out to stop isn’t me acting. The psychological damage of doing that to someone for even a minute would be indescribable.”

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This article was posted: Monday, October 27, 2008 at 11:08 am

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