Tinker, Tailor…The Return of George Smiley

Next week sees the release of the new film version of John Le Carre’s cold war spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Over the years I had heard a lot about the 1979 TV version made by the BBC starring Alec Guinness and so a few years ago I purchased the DVD. It was in seven 45 minute parts and I watched all the episodes at night during Ramadan: it had been my habit to save up my annual leave each year and then take the whole month of Ramadan off work. Anyway – the BBC version was just superb. It was so different to other spy stories. George Smiley (Alec Guinness) was a top spook but a whole world apart from Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Le Carre (aka David Cornwell and himself a former spy) convincingly portrayed a world where the top brass of the security services were plagued by the very same human failings that we are all familiar with: greed, betrayal, petty jealousies, scheming, disillusionment etc. Guinness himself was just a joy to watch alongside a top-notch British cast.

To this day I don’t think I have seen a better BBC drama series. Can’t wait to see the movie version.

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