I saw the Gary Oldman film adaptation of this classic John Le Carré novel last winter, which made me curious about this BBC series of produced in 1979. Even though I knew “the story” from the film, I found this series riveting. The basic set-up of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is that a mole has infiltrated the Circus, which is the code name for the British Secret Intelligence Service, and it is Smiley’s job to ferret him out. This is a good, old-fashioned spy story reeking of Cold-War era paranoia. The stunning cast is uniformly excellent, but it is Alec Guinness as George Smiley who really makes the series. He is perfectly cast as the quiet, careful, methodical spy. The script is excellent. Characters have real depth and close attention is paid to detail and nuance. The pace is intentionally very slow and the plot very complicated. So much so that I am tempted to watch the whole series again soon, in addition to reading the novel.
Sep 23, 2012