George Smiley R4

BBC R4 is doing a series on this fictional character. It's broadcast on Saturday at 14.30hrs. (local time)

'Call For The Dead' opened the series. I thought it a good production in all and well worth a listen to.

"George, let me make you an offer which a gentleman would refuse. Take me back".
I'm a massive George Smiley fan - loved the books and the TV series when it was repeated years after its original showing. Le Carre is the biz, slow build up, deception, intrigue and finally.....revelation! :dance:
LancePrivateJones said:
Thanks for the heads up Alec.

George Smiley et al............real spies.
I missed 'A Murder of Quality' which was broadcast on Wednesday at ? hr.


Book Reviewer
I keep missing them. Hope they're going to come out as a CD/Audiobook at some point.
_Artemis_ said:
A Murder Of Quality was excellent, Simon Russell Beale is a great choice for Smiley. Don't miss The Spy Who Came In From The Cold on Sunday

PS, thinking about it, shouldn't your username be Alec_Leamas, AL? :D
My bold - Brian Cox is outstanding as Alec in the R4 version (part1)

As for the Leamas he's one of my favourite literature characters and I just couldn't bring myself to stick to his surname, kharma and all that :D

Cracking series this far.
I keep missing it. I'm going to have to ask Santa to bring me a boxed set of it on CD I think.
Thanks Arty for the attachment. I missed the R4 Sunday broadcast as I was in London on the Sky Ride bike do dah. I just listened to it this morning. Marvellous, simply marvellous.......................


Book Reviewer
Does anyone picture anybody else but Alec Guiness as George Smiley?

In a well ordered world his wife would be Lauren Bacall


Le Carre......a pure genius

I wonder if they're on Itunes?

Edited to add: They're all on Itunes......well his books are.


Downloading these now in mp3 audiobook format:

The Honourable Schoolboy
The Spy Who Came in From The Cold (BBC)
Our Game
The Looking Glass War
Absolute Friends
The Mission Song
A Most Wanted Man

Off to Marakesh tomorrow, so something to listen to on the trip.

If anyone wants them put on a CD PM me.
TheIronDuke said:
Does anyone picture anybody else but Alec Guiness as George Smiley?

In a well ordered world his wife would be Lauren Bacall
Le Carre (David Cornwell) had some previous bad experiences with the film interpretation of his characters. At an interview in the National Film Theatre he said - " When Flaubert was asked whether he wanted Madame Bovary illustrated, he answered no as he felt that everybody would lose their individual picture of her".

Le Carre didn't like Burton's interpretation of Alec Leamas in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. "too noisy, too theatrical" and would have preferred either Trevor Howard or Peter Finch. However, he was completely struck with Guinness as Smiley as much as Guinness was taken with the character Smiley.


Been following all of this season.

Its what Radio was invented for. Superb adaptations and the casting is spot on.

Still picture him as Alec Guiness though!
Mr_Deputy said:
Slightly off topic but I really enjoyed a novel set in Moscow in which a hard-bitten detective investigates a murder which has links to 'The Party' its quite famous but I can't recall the name and Google wont help me at all.
Gorky Park?

I loved the earlier le Carre books, but I think he's missed his way with some more recent efforts, and I find his apparent anti-Americanism unsettling. There's more than a hint of PC in some of his work of the last 10 years or so. I also suspect that he'd like to be thought of as a major literary figure, rather than a mere scribbler of spy stories, no matter how thrilling or sophisticated. There's a bit too much 'metaphysical angst' (or whatever the chattering classes call it), even in Smiley, for my liking. All that said, cracking novels, for the most part. And I agree about Guinness: born to the role.


Book Reviewer
Democritus said:
Gorky Park?
Well done. A fine book and I couldnt remember the name till I read your post.

As for Smileys anti-americanism, look at the books in historical context. We'd just been trying to bury the Burgess / Mclean / Philby nightmare, and trying to keep a stiff upper lip even though we had been sold down the river by a bunch of upper class uphill-gardeners.

So, yes, Smiley would be a tad defensive regarding the cousins.

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