Strike Back is a British/American action-adventure/spy-drama television series based on a novel of the same name by novelist and former Special Air Service (SAS) soldier Chris Ryan. The series follows the actions of Section 20, a secretive branch of the British Defence Intelligence service (DI), who operate several high risk, priority missions throughout the globe. The series began broadcasting on Sky1 on 5 May 2010, showing the first six-part series. After a second series was commissioned, it was announced that Cinemax would co-produce the franchise. The first episode of the ten-part second series, under the banner title Project Dawn in the United Kingdom, first aired on Cinemax on 12 August 2011. The ten-part third series, under the title Strike Back: Vengeance, began airing on Cinemax on 17 August 2012. On 3 October 2012, Cinemax and Sky commissioned a fourth series, which was broadcast on Cinemax beginning 9 August 2013. A ten episode fifth and final series aired in 2015. The final episode aired on 29 July 2015. However, Cinemax and Sky1 announced on December 8, 2016 that they would revive the show for a sixth series that would air sometime around 2017 with a date yet to be given.
Executive producer Andy Harries gained hold of the novel and pitched a television adaption to Sky, even though he had not read it. Sky commissioned the series as part of a £10 million commitment to adapt novels into original dramas following the successes of adapting Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. Following Cinemax's participation from the second series, the series faced a re-imagining due to the absence of first series lead Richard Armitage, who was at the time filming The Hobbit in New Zealand. Before filming several cast members participated in bootcamp training by former SAS and Special Boat Service (SBS) officers. The series was filmed on location in South Africa, although parts of the second series were filmed in Hungary.
Ratings for Strike Back were relatively high for the original networks. The Sky1 premiere was viewed by almost 400,000 viewers (according to overnight figures), tripling the average audience share for the channel's time slot after three months. Project Dawn premiered to over 600,000. The Cinemax premiere saw the network's best ratings since 2005. All five series have been or will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.