Thursday, May 21, 2009

George Smiley on the Radio

BookBrunch reported today on the upcoming Radio 4 dramatisations of the George Smiley novels:
Radio 4 is dramatising John le Carré’s eight Smiley novels beginning this Saturday (23 May) with Call for the Dead. The dramatisations will run throughout 2009 and into 2010.

The transmission dates are: A Murder of Quality, Saturday Play 30 May; The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Classic Serial 5, 12 and 19 July; The Looking Glass War, Classic Serial 20 and 27 September; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Classic Serial 29 November, 6 and 13 December; The Honourable Schoolboy, Classic Serial 24 and 31 January, 7 February; Smiley's People, Classic Serial April 2010; and The Secret Pilgrim, 2010.

Simon Russell Beale will play spymaster George Smiley, who first appears in Call for the Dead - published in 1961 as the Berlin Wall went up - as a security officer in The Department. In later books Smiley works for The Circus. He is described as a bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged, deceptively ordinary, constantly cuckolded, morally perplexed and steel-trap-minded man, possessing "the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin".

John le Carré said: "Simon Russell Beale is unique. No living actor can match his understanding of language, or his interpretation of character. He will make a superb Smiley, and I feel deeply honoured."
Call for the Dead is on at 2.30pm Saturday 23 May for 90 minutes. The cast also includes Kenneth Cranham, Eleanor Bron and Anna Chancellor. The Radio 4 programme information is here.

There is a 2008 interview with Simon Russell Beale at the National Theatre website all about books.

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