Smiley, wrestling with retirement and disillusionment, is summoned to a secret meeting with a member of the Cabinet Office. Evidence has emerged that the Circus has been infiltrated at the highest level by a Russian agent. Find the mole, George. Clean the stables. Do whatever is necessary. Reluctantly Smiley agrees, and so embarks on a dark journey into his past - a past filled with love, duplicity and betrayal. Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a star cast including Anna Chancellor, Alex Jennings, Kenneth Cranham and Bill Paterson, this epic dramatisation brilliantly depicts the complicated moral dilemmas of those who practise post-war espionage, and illuminates the murky corners of le Carré’s classic spy thriller - the first in the Karla trilogy. '... a worthy audio version of the seminal spy drama, brilliantly depicting the complicated moral dilemmas of post-war espionage, and allowing Beale room to shine as the character of Smiley really comes into his own' - Herts Advertiser 'beautifully paced in a dramatisation which captures the essence of the book whilst working supremely well in its own right in the radio medium' - Chichester Observer 'This period dramatisation could not be bettered' - Observer
This is truly a fantastic dramatization. With all due respect to the memory of Alec Guinness, Simon Russell Beale IS George Smiley; he perfectly captures the complexity of this sad, lonely, conflicted, brilliant man. Beale is surely one of the finest actors alive today, and here he is definitely firing on all cylinders. The rest of the cast is equally fine; I was especially delighted to hear the marvellous Bill Paterson in a small but glorious role as slimy new Circus head Percy Alleline. As with all the other "Complete Smiley" dramatizations I've heard so far, the adaptation from John le Carre's novel has been very deftly handled. Topping it all off, and adding an extra layer of depth and poignancy, the incidental music is drawn from the haunting (and appropriately funereal) string quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich. The whole thing is absolutely superb from start to finish; I cannot imagine how it could be improved, other than by making it longer.