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TV preview: Toby tackles bank job - PICK OF THE WEEK; WIRED Monday, ITV1, 9pm.

Byline: BY STEVE HENDRY

Toby Stephens makes a drama out of a crisis in new ITV thriller Wired.

The actor leads a top cast in the fast-paced three-part series which delves into the murky high-risk world of bank fraud.

Former Bond villain Toby reckons the global money crisis will draw in viewers.

He said: "There's a lot of stuff in the news about banks and fraud. In any time of financial downturn, one becomes very interested in this sort of thing."

Wired also stars ex-EastEnder Charlie Brooks, St Trinians' Jodie Whittaker and Laurence Fox.

Jodie plays young single mum Louise who is given a high-profile job at her bank. She thinks it's the chance of a lifetime but her promotion is part of a conspiracy to force her into carrying out a pounds 250million internet bank theft.

She's landed in the position by best friend Anna (Charlie) who has divulged Louise's murky past to boyfriend Phillip (Laurence), a disgraced ex-banker who is the brains behind the scheme.

Toby plays the inscrutable Crawford Hill, a policeman trying to expose the fraud ring from the inside - and the one person Louise thinks she can trust.

He said: "He's an undercover detective for the fraud squad.

He's a bit of a loner. He's quite persistent and ambitious.

"The viewer will be intrigued as to whether he's pursuing the investigation with such gusto because he's so ambitious and wants to solve it or because of his interest in Jodie's character.

He's mysterious and you don't know what his motives are."

Toby, who researched his role by speaking to real fraud officers, was shocked to learn what he thought was a fantasy plot in Wired has its basis in reality.

He said: "I went to the Fraud Office and had a chat with the boss. He'd read the script and helped the writer so the details are spot on. It was interesting because that stuff does happen."

Toby is often seen in costume in period dramas such as Jane Eyre so it was a nice change to dress down for his part in Wired.

He said: "It was a novelty to play something modern." But for his next role, Toby is back in costume - on the wrong side of the law - when he plays Prince John in BBC1's new Robin Hood.

He joked: "Keith Allen (who plays the Sheriff of Nottingham) is having a break for a while so I'm going to be a villain."

CAPTION(S):

Laurence Fox, Jodie Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Toby Stephen and Charlie Brooks dip into world of financial fiddlers
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 12, 2008
Words:429
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