Ultimate Force (2003) Captain Ian Macalwain

“Ultimate Force” was co-created by Chris Ryan (who also wrote the novel on which the later series, Strike Back was based) and aired on ITV for four seasons from 2002. Richard appeared in episodes 2-6 of the second series playing Captain Ian Macalwain who is brought in to replace a much loved unit commander. He is resented by the team and when they learn of his affair with the wife of one of the members, they take revenge. As Richard saw him, “He’s from a military family and is under pressure from his family to do well. He is very clean cut and quite conservative in the way that he dresses and views himself. Being vain doesn’t come into his head – he’s just efficient, efficient, efficient. He goes by the book and doesn’t have any improvisation skills, so when things go wrong he feels the rug is being pulled from underneath him.” (Ultimate Force dvd, ‘Playing Ian Macalwain’, courtesy Richard Armitage Online)


Production details

Cast (series 2)
Ross Kemp – Staff Sergeant Henry ‘Henno’ Garvie (Red Troop leader)
Miles Anderson – Col Aidan Dempsey
Tony Curran – Corp Pete Twamley
Jamie Draven – Corp Jamie Dow
Danny Sapani – Corp Ricky Mann
Derek Horne – Sg Sean Smith
Christopher Fox – Corp Louis Hoffman
Alex Reid – Cpt Caroline Walshe
Richard Armitage – Cpt Ian Macalwain
Lucy Akhurst – Pru Banks (MI5 Officer)
Jackie Morrison – Mrs Twamley

Executive Producer                  Directors                      Writers
Brian True-May                           Tim Leandro                  Rob Heyland
Richard Holthouse                                                            Len Collin
Jeremy Webb


Macalwain is not a bad guy, but he is a bit edgy. I don’t think I am anything like him, which is why it is interesting to play him. He’s eloquent with a sharp tongue and can humiliate people in an argument, which was really enjoyable to play. He comes in as captain and throws his weight around. (Ultimate Force dvd, ‘Playing Ian Macalwain’, courtesy Richard Armitage Online)





Ultimate Force was weird – although we were shooting blank bullets, it did feel good to pull a trigger. (Radio Times, October 7-10, 2005)