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Q&A of A Spy Among Friends at ITVX Showcase Event

Panel Discussion

by Gingersnap | | November 29, 2022

Panel L-R: Anna Maxwell Martin, Damian Lewis, Ben Macintyre, Patrick Spence, Nick Murphy

Damian debuted his new six part series A Spy Among Friends at ITVX Showcase event on Tuesday, November 15, 2022 during a Q&A panel discussion. Joining him was actor Anna Maxwell Martin,  author Ben Macintyre, director Nick Murphy and Patrick Spence. Damian told the moderator,

“We just wanted to get in behind the curtain of what an intimate betrayal between two friends [looks like]. It starts very much, and returns to, this friendship. I don’t want to give the end away, but there was a famous 4-day interview set in Beirut, an interrogation, which is the centerpiece of our drama that we come in and out of in a brilliantly orchestrated sort of time jumping way by Alex Cary who adapted Ben’s brilliant book. And that 4-day interrogation is the emotional heart of the show.”

Watch the full-length 12-minute video here. View images from the event here.

Anna Maxwell Martin said,

“She’s not in Ben’s [Macintyre] book. She’s not real. She’s invented. She’s Alex’s [Cary] creation. She’s MI5 so she’s sort of investigating this chap (points to Damian) and what he’s been up to. It was a real privilege; we had a lovely time…I had a lovely time. It’s rare that all those things come together like, an amazing script, from a wonderful book, brilliant director, brilliant, lovely, kind producers, wonderful cast, and so yea, lovely time.”

Ben Macintyre stated,

“It’s all about deception, betrayal, adventure and romance. Just to go back to what Anna was saying, actually although her character is invented, that investigation happened and it is the question of what Philby was really about and this relationship between these two men played out is still debated inside MI6. It hasn’t gone away, it’s still a contemporary debate. And all human intelligence, as opposed to signals intelligence, really is about looking into someone’s eyes and trying to work out if they’re lying to you and that is the absolute essence of this story. It’s extraordinary to see it move from the page to the screen with such kind of honesty and depth. Brilliant.”

Patrick Spence shared,

“That was the period I was most involved, helping put it together. I think it’s fair to say that once the show started filming I’ve never had less to do. This was a brilliant team. All I had to do was get out of the way, but putting it together was fascinating and exciting. Alex [Cary] had met with Ben [Macintyre] five years ago. He was challenged ‘Can you adapt Spy Among Friends’ and went away on his own as an intellectual exercise to write the script for his own benefit. No one paid him. No one commissioned him directly. He just wanted to know if it could be done and if he was sitting here he’d say his way into the story was through Anna’s character. That’s what allowed it to make sense for him…how to adapt it for television. Then we got together and very quickly teamed up with Damian, found our partners, brought Nick [Murphy] on board and the rest was easy.”

Nick Murphy said about series,

“I was as interested in the human drama, and that’s what I think the audience will be, as interested in the human drama as they are the espionage drama because we’ve been very careful to make sure this is a story about real people who happen to be in the espionage business rather than just spies being spies in Spyland. Because these were real people and real hearts were broken and real [platonic] love affairs were fractured. So that is what appealed, and working with this sort of ridiculously thoroughbred cast. That was a joy. I honestly, genuinely can’t wait for people to see it.”

A Spy Among Friends is coming to ITVX on December 8 (December 9 on BritBox Australia) and early 2023 on MGM+ in the US.  View first look photos in our Gallery here and watch official trailer below:

Source: ITV Press Centre