5 hrs. 15 mins.
Alec Guinness as the bespectacled spymaster, George Smiley, is once again called from retirement to come to the aid of the ‘circus’ – and he returns with a vengeance. The murder of an emigre Soviet general, who was also a British agent, sends him digging into the past on a twisted trail across Europe that moves, inexorably, towards a final showdown with his old adversary, Karla of Moscow centre. You can now enjoy the full, classic series from 1979, which was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award.
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Review by Nicola Perry:
‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ stars Alec Guinness as George Smiley, John Le Carré’s familiar, ageing British Intelligence agent, called out of retirement to discover the identity of the high-ranking Russian mole who has burrowed deep into “The Circus”- the code name for the British secret service. This slow-burning, complicated and ultimately rewarding BBC adaptation, dramatised by Arthur Hopcroft and directed by John Irvin, perfectly captures Le Carré’s own insight into the shady underworld of spies and the political climate during the Cold War.
Le Carré’s style is the antithesis of his contemporary Ian Fleming’s – far from the glamorous lifestyle of Bond, with his fast cars and faster women, these agents ride around in Skodas, and Beryl Reid is the closest thing to a femme fatale, save for Smiley’s elusive wife, Anne. An extraordinary cast (including Ian Bannen, Hywel Bennett and Ian Richardson), gritty realism and close attention to detail make Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy an outstanding piece of television drama.
- Edited documentary – The Secret Centre
- Scene Selection