Spooks (BBC1, 9pm); Embarrassing Teenage Illnesses (C4, 9pm)

JOINING MI5 must be easier than getting a preview DVD of the opening episode of the new series of spy drama Spooks.

The makers are so concerned at keeping secret the when and the how of leading man Rupert Penry-Jones’ exit that security is tighter than a drunk after a day of drinking.

A request for a preview DVD is passed on to a higher authority, the PR company handling the programme. I then have to agree to abide by a four-point embargo not to give the game away about what happens in the story.

As this top secret information is contained in an email, I can’t sign it in blood, but I’m sure the Spooks people would impose that restriction if they could.

So what am I allowed to tell you about this breathless opening episode? Lovers of Spooks male eye candy won’t have time to shed too many tears at Penry- Jones’ departure as another pin-up boy, Richard Armitage, joins the cast. Also to be seen as the Sherwood Forest dogooder’s enemy Guy of Gisburne, in Robin Hood, he plays agent Lucas North, who’s spent the past eight years in a Russian jail.

This first episode could prove too much for those ladies (and a few gentlemen, I suspect) who admire both these fine specimens of manhood. Lovers of both actors won’t know where to look when they share a scene.

The writer even finds an excuse to get Armitage’s shirt off quickly on the pretext of showing us the tattooes he’s acquired while behind bars.

But what to do now that he’s back on British soil? “Catch up on eight years of Coronation Street,” someone suggests.

Some hope, there are the inevitable terrorist threats to defuse. In London, a soldier home from Afghanistan has been kidnapped and threatened with beheading unless Rembrance Sunday is cancelled.

Meanwhile (there’s always a meanwhile in Spooks) things are moving in Moscow where an agent must get out of town fast, having acquired details of another potential disaster.

Spooks is as slick and engrossing as ever. You can’t beat a plot involving a race against the clock to save women, children and old people coupled with a sideline in dodgy Russian spy masters for good measure.

While the Spooks boys are as tough as old boots, the medics in Embarrassing Teenage Illnesses are touchy-feely. These doctors are taking their consulting room to festivals, campusus and beaches at home and abroad to offer advice on teenagers’ medical concerns.

We can expect hormonal horror stories, the worst stretch marks ever seen and a campaign to save teenage skin. All very informative, and presented in a bright, cheerful way by doctors Christian, Pixie and Dawn.

They begin in the sun (but remember to take some sun factor) on the beach in Magaluf – “the teenage mecca of excess”

as demonstrated by one young chap boasting of having ten pints, throwing up and then having another seven pints.

Dr Christian fires a few warning shots telling us that two out of ten people on the beach will contract an STD, eight out of then aren’t wearing strong-enough sun protection, and nine out of ten binge drink every night.

Dr Christian’s on a mission to educate on the dangers of over-exposure to the sun. He rounds up the worst offenders on the beach to inform them that lying in the sun without proper protection is like pouring boiling water on themselves. Get sunburnt at 15 and you have a 50 per cent greater chance of getting skin cancer when older, he says applying shock tactics.

Back in this country, he tackles morbid obesity through the case of an 18-year-old single mother weighing more than 22 stone, describing her as “a heart attack waiting to happen”.

What amazes about this programme is the willingness of teenagers to consult these TV medics rather than their own GPs. And then allow cameras to focus on their most intimate areas.

Ed is only too willing to drop his shorts and have the doctor examine his privates.

“It’s been quite viciously attacked that willy of yours,” is the diagnosis, although we don’t really need to be told as we can see for ourselves.