Categories A Spy Among Friends Print Media

Damian Lewis Attends Television Critics Association Panel for A Spy Among Friends

MGM+ Unveils A Spy Among Friends at TCA Winter Press Tour

by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | January 10, 2023

For the first time in three years since the pandemic, the in-person Television Critics Association press tour returned. The event was held at The Langham, Huntington in Pasadena, California beginning Monday, January 9, 2023. Not all television networks appeared, but MGM+ was there to discuss upcoming content available on its new streaming platform, including A Spy Among Friends. After first debuting on ITVX in the U.K. in December 2022, A Spy Among Friends staring Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce will get its US premiere on MGM+ on March 12, 2023, as EPIX will become MGM+ on January 15, 2023. The six-episode series is based on the Ben Macintyre book of the same name, written by Alexander Cary and directed by Nick Murphy. ITV produces in collaboration with Sony Pictures Television and Damian’s own Ginger Biscuit Entertainment.

Those attending the TCA panel discussion in-person were Anna Maxwell-Martin, Nick Murphy and Alexander Cary, and joining remotely via video call were Damian and Guy Pearce. During the discussion Damian said Guy Pearce plays the rock star Kim Philby and he plays the sap Nicholas Elliott. Anna Maxwell-Martin said her scenes with Damian were thrilling, “It’s just about being with Damian in a room.” Alex Cary shared that he centered the story of A Spy Among Friends around relationships, friendship and betrayal to make it relevant to today’s audience. Photos from the event can be viewed here.

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Categories A Spy Among Friends Helen Interviews Print Media

Guy Pearce Says He Could Feel Helen McCrory On Set When He Filmed With Her Husband Damian Lewis

Guy Pearce Remembers the Late Helen McCrory on This Morning

by Charlotte Dean | Daily Mail Online | November 30, 2022

Guy Pearce has discussed filming A Spy Among Friends with Damian Lewis shortly after his late wife Helen McCrory‘s death in April last year. The actor, 55, said he could feel the Peaky Blinders actress’ ‘essence’ on set as they filmed the drama together, during an appearance on Wednesday’s This Morning.

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Categories A Spy Among Friends Broadcast Media Print Media

A Spy Among Friends Goes International

Sony Pictures Television Lands Global Sales for Espionage Thriller

by Mona Tabbara | ScreenDaily | November 30, 2022

A Spy Among Friends has sold to 117 territories for Sony Pictures Television. The series stars and is executive produced by UK star Damian Lewis, with Australian actor Guy Pearce and the UK’s Anna Maxwell-Martin also starring. The Cold War thriller is based on Ben Macintyre’s novel and tells the true story of follows British intelligence officer and KGB double agent Kim Philby, and is co-produced by ITV Studios and Sony Pictures Television. The series director is Nick Murphy.

It launches in the UK on ITVX on December 8, and has been picked up by MGM+ in the US, plus Canada (Prime Video), France (OCS January 3, 2023) and Germany (Deutsche Telekom). Sky Italia will broadcast the series in Italy, Monaco and Malta, and it will also air in India (SonyLIV), New Zealand (TVNZ), the Middle East (BeIN), across Central and Eastern European territories including Poland, Hungary, Czechia, Croatia, and Slovakia (HBO), Greece (Nova) and South Korea (Coupang).

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Categories A Spy Among Friends Interviews Print Media

“Old Boy Network Would Still Protect Kim Philby”

The Greatest Double Agent of All Time

by Chris Harvey | The Telegraph  | November 30, 2022

Friendship, according to the author Ben Macintyre, is the reason why Harold “Kim” Philby remains “the greatest double agent of all time”. The “third man” of the notorious set of Communist spies who met at Cambridge University in the 1930s exploited his closest friends to gift British and American secrets to Moscow, leading to the deaths of hundreds, possibly thousands, over 30 years as a traitor working for the KGB.

One of those friendships, with a man who protected Philby for many years, fellow MI6 officer Nicholas Elliott, is at the heart of a gripping new six-part ITV drama, A Spy Among Friends, based on Macintyre’s book of the same name. Fittingly, it stars Etonian Damian Lewis as Elliott, whose father was a famous headmaster of the school, and Guy Pearce as Philby.

Eton “was a more progressive, sort of democratic place when I was there”, notes Lewis, when I mention that John le Carré, who taught there in the 1950s, described Etonians as “a curse on the earth”. Yet was Elliott responsible in some ways for Philby’s crimes because he vouched for him? Lewis believes he was. “Elliot’s tragic arc is that he loves, adores, admires, and supports a man for his entire life, and defends him at critical points when he might have been exposed.

“And then he is the man that is sent to bring him back in a four-day interview in Beirut” – in 1962, Elliott was dispatched to the Middle East, where Philby was working as a journalist, to secure his confession after the spy had been confirmed as the third man by a Soviet defector. “Elliott is confronted by his greatest friend, his soulmate, his lover to all intents and purposes, platonically, who betrayed him and his country.” He never got over that betrayal.

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Categories A Spy Among Friends Print Media

A Spy Among Friends Lands at MGM+ for USA Release

Spectrum Originals Out, MGM+ In

by Peter White | Deadline | November 29, 2022
by Lesley Goldberg | The Hollywood Reporter | November 29, 2022

Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce-fronted drama series A Spy Among Friends has found a new home in the U.S. following Spectrum’s move out of original series. The spy thriller, which is a co-production with UK streamer ITVX, has landed at MGM+, the network formerly known as Epix.

The premium cable network/streamer has picked up domestic rights to the series and it will air in the U.S. in 2023. It comes after the series premiered at the London Film Festival and ahead of its British launch in December.

The six-part series was among the programs that were left without a home after Charter shut down its Spectrum Originals banner following the departure of executive Katherine Pope.

Pope departed cable service Charter to take over as president of indie studio Sony Pictures Television, which produces A Spy Among Friends. Pope previously bought the show during her time at Charter and now sold it to MGM+ in her new role atop Sony TV. The MGM-controlled Epix will be rebranded as MGM+ starting January 1, 2023.

“I’m very happy to be bringing our Cold War tale of friendship and betrayal to MGM+. They’re the perfect partners for us and I can’t wait for people to see it,” said Damian Lewis.

“Alex Cary has brilliantly adapted Ben Macintyre’s historical novel about friendship, loyalty, and betrayal. He, along with Nick Murphy, Damian Lewis, and the remarkable cast led by Lewis and Guy Pearce, have brought to life this riveting tale of two British spies whose deep personal bond and long friendship is challenged by duplicity and deception,” said Michael Wright, head of MGM+. “This series is emblematic of our new MGM+ brand and the rich, cinematic, and character-driven stories we aim to tell.”

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Categories A Spy Among Friends Print Media

A Spy Among Friends Exposes the Public School, Old Boys’ Network at MI6

ITVX’s Adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s Bestseller Invents Female Officer

by Anita Singh | The Telegraph | November 29, 2022

Kim Philby’s career as a double agent was a betrayal not just of his country, but of the old boys’ network at MI6.
A new television drama about his treachery aims to inject some gender balance by inventing a female character who exposes the British intelligence services as a world of entitled, public school “dinosaurs”.

The drama, A Spy Among Friends, is an adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s bestselling book about the friendship between Philby and Nicholas Elliott, a fellow agent.

Damian Lewis plays Elliott, who has been blind to Philby’s betrayal. He gradually learns the truth through his dealing with Lily Taylor (Anna Maxwell Martin), a working class MI5 officer called in to investigate.
The drama, co-starring Guy Pearce as Philby, launches on December 8 on ITVX, the streaming service which is replacing the old ITV Hub.

The creation of Lily Taylor follows a trend for inserting fictional female characters into stories that, in their original form, had no place for women.

“This character enabled us to tell a particular story,” said Lewis. “About a generation of white, upper class dinosaurs, who’d been responsible for two world wars, failed intelligence missions, and had curated and nurtured our most famous double agent. The redemptive thing for Elliott is that he has the foresight and humanity to recognize in this young, female MI5 officer that here might be a way forward. He sees in her something rather brilliant – he sees the future.”

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Categories A Spy Among Friends Print Media

A Spy Among Friends Episode Guide

Episode Titles and Descriptions

by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | November 28, 2022

A Spy Among Friends will be available on ITVX on December 8 and BritBox AU on December 9, but for those of us across the pond, we will have to wait until its MGM+ US release. Until then here are the episode titles and descriptions.

Episode 1: Boom-ooh-yatatatah
Description: In the wake of Kim Philby’s escape to Moscow, his closest friend in Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6.), Nicholas Elliott, is under investigation by Mrs. Lily Thomas from the Security Service (MI5): Did he facilitate Philby’s escape because he’s also a traitor working for the Russians, or is it just that his judgement was clouded at a critical moment by their twenty-three year friendship? Or maybe, just maybe, he in fact had the last laugh having manipulated Philby to run to the bosom of the KGB for foreign intelligence purposes.

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