Before the onscreen action even hits the editing suite there's been plenty of behind-the-scenes drama for the seventh series of 24. First the show's lead Kiefer Sutherland had a drink driving sentence to fulfil, then the writers' strike brought proceedings to a halt.
Perhaps as a result of the delays, Kiefer was looking especially glad to be back at work as he reprised the role of counter terrorist agent Jack Bauer this week.
That double blip will, however, have an effect on scheduling. The new series, which was originally due to air Stateside in January 2008, will now not go out until January 2009.
To help fans make the transition over the long break, a made-for-TV prequel is planned for the autumn. The two-hour special will be set in Africa a year after the events portrayed in day six.
"(Jack's) a soul in turmoil and has been moving from place to place trying to find somewhere he can be at peace," explains a source. "But he winds up in Africa in the middle of a coup."
The programme will lay the groundwork for next season's action which begins and ends at 8am and plays out against a Washington backdrop.
Until both prequel and series make it to the UK, dyed in the wool Kiefer fans can console themselves with the fact that their hero is also due back on the silver screen this year. The 41-year-old Canadian stars in Mirrors, a thriller about mirrors which bring out the worst in people, out in Europe in September.