Who is Our Girl star Michael James?

Meet the man behind Al Shabaab terrorist Abu

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Tonight’s episode of Our Girl is a nail-biter. Anyone who watched last week’s instalment will know that last we saw of Michelle Keegan’s Georgie Lane, she was being bundled into a car by a gang of Al Shabaab terrorists. And as we revisit the action, things are not looking good for our favourite army medic – she’s at the mercy of her kidnappers who are promising to execute her if their requests aren’t met. 

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At the heart of Georgie’s gang of assailants is a mysterious terrorist named Abu – real name Jason Raynott. Abu commands a lofty position among the kidnappers but originally hails from London. 

Described as “passionate, assertive, intelligent and fearless”, he became interested in the Islamic Faith while studying at Manchester University and recently left the UK for Ethiopia where he told his family and friends he was undertaking a charity mission – although us viewers now know better.

Among the terrorists, Abu is fearsome and ruthless, making his intentions to Georgie clear during the opening moments of tonight’s episode – but in real life, actor Michael James is the sort of guy who makes friends with cute animals…

 

Me squaring up to a furry little animal thing…in SA

A photo posted by Michael Bell (@michaelbell92) on Apr 3, 2016 at 4:49am PDT

And gets REALLY excited about visiting his favourite sports ground. 

 

Me trying to look a little bit more excited about being on the pitch at Newlands

A photo posted by Michael Bell (@michaelbell92) on Apr 3, 2016 at 5:28am PDT

Fresh out of drama school with an acting prize under his belt, James has landed his first major role in Our Girl so you probably won’t recognise him – unless you’ve been paying very close attention to Doctors which he guest-starred in earlier this year. He’s also kept himself busy in the theatre, appearing in Four Play for Theatre 503 and in The Last Days of Troy at Shakespeare’s Globe. 

We can only assume his character’s beard is the result of Our Girl’s hair and make-up department based on his clean-shaven appearance in this snap with co-star Michelle Keegan…

 

Great fun working with this little beaut. Obviously over the moon, given my expression.

A photo posted by Michael Bell (@michaelbell92) on Apr 15, 2016 at 8:25am PDT

And here he is at the show’s launch earlier this year looking a far cry from the hardened terrorist we see on screens tonight.

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Our Girl continues on Wednesdays at 9pm on BBC1