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Are You Lonesome Tonight?
by Peter Craven | The Spectator | January 5, 2023
Just now you can see Pearce in A Spy Among Friends as Kim Philby, that dazzling double agent.
The streamer goes for six episodes and if you’re quick and lethal you can join BritBox for a free trial period and watch this extraordinary story of how Damian Lewis as Nicholas Elliott, the patriotic mate, tangles with the problem of Philby two-timing for the Russians.
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He Gave Me The Slip
by William Keegan | The Guardian | December 31, 2022
The English of a certain generation seem to be divided between those who are fascinated by the Cambridge spies and those who are not. For the former, the fascination and in my case memories have been rekindled by the recent release of the television series A Spy Among Friends, starring Guy Pearce as the treacherous Kim Philby and Damian Lewis as Nicholas Elliott, his close friend for many years at the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), also known as MI6.
The bond between Philby and Elliott was tested when the latter discovered that he had unwittingly been one of Philby’s prime sources for top-secret intelligence as part of the notorious Cambridge spy ring who passed information to the Soviet Union during the second world war and, later, the cold war. This was all the more galling for Elliott, who had helped to clear Philby’s name when he had come under suspicion some years before his ultimate confession in Beirut in 1963.
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Now Streaming In UAE on TOD
by Enid Grace Parker | The Khaleej Times | December 15, 2022
Wondering what to binge-watch this weekend? Why not check out the 6-part series A Spy Among Friends, an intriguing tale of espionage, friendship, and betrayal that dramatizes the true story of Britain’s most notorious double agent and defector, Kim Philby. Philby is played by Australian actor Guy Pearce (Neighbours, Memento) while Homeland star Damian Lewis takes on the role of his lifelong friend, MI6 agent Nicholas Elliott. Based on the New York Times best-selling book by Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends chronicles Philby’s deeply personal betrayal, uncovered at the height of the Cold War, which resulted in the gutting of British and American Intelligence.
Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor Lewis – who received a CBE from Britain’s King Charles on December 14 – told City Times in a recent virtual group interview that roles based on real life are “more challenging” but “always more interesting” to him.
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“All the Thrills, Intrigue and Skulduggery of its Source Material”
by Staff | The Economist | December 14, 2022
“If i had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friends,” E.M. Forster wrote in 1938, “I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” The English author’s words are used as an epigraph to “A Spy Among Friends”, Ben Macintyre’s bestselling book of 2014 about Harold “Kim” Philby, as well as for a new television adaptation. Yet the British intelligence officer and double-agent made no such choice: he betrayed his country, his friends and his family for decades and without remorse.
Philby’s name is synonymous with treachery on a colossal scale. Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess, John Cairncross and Donald Maclean—the other members of the Cambridge Five, a spy ring—committed many duplicitous deeds for their Soviet masters, but none can claim the title of Britain’s most notorious spy. Philby played his high-stakes game of double-cross so ruthlessly, so successfully and for so long that he acquired a different level of infamy after he was unmasked.
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“The Jump-Around Is Part Of The Point”
by Brenna Cooper and David Opie | Digital Spy | December 12, 2022
A Spy Among Friends director Nick Murphy has has explained his reason for the show’s confusing narrative, saying it was a deliberate choice to “discombobulate” viewers. Throughout the series, the show jumps between several locations across 30 years as it tells the story of Nicholas Elliott (Damian Lewis) and KGB double agent Kim Philby (Guy Pearce). Murphy explained that it was a conscious decision from the beginning not to explicitly label each location and year, in order to focus on the show’s emotional storyline.
“The show jumps around over 30 years in London, Berlin, Moscow, Vienna, Istanbul… We made a decision quite early to not caption things as we jump around, because it would become this endless litany of captions on screen,” he told Digital Spy in a video here.
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It Is Even More Heartbreaking Than You Think
by Jacob Sarkisian and David Opie | Digital Spy | December 11, 2022
A Spy Among Friends‘ first episode ends with a heartbreaking scene, but the makers of the show have explained the personal connection that makes it sadder than you think.
In the scene, Damian Lewis’ character watches Guy Pearce’s character on stage. As he watches, he starts to cry. However, Pearce’s character isn’t actually there and it’s all in the mind of Lewis’ character. Watch video here.
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Superb Cast and Top Drawer Script
by Alison Rowat | Herald Scotland | December 10, 2022
When the TV adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy appeared in 1979 it was judged unsurpassable in its field. Alec Guinness as George Smiley? Only a fool would try to match that.
Then came the 2011 film with Gary Oldman, and spy tale traditionalists wobbled. Ditto BBC1’s The Night Manager five years later, with Tom Hiddleston’s BTM as its USP. I hear good things about Slow Horses (Disney+), which I’m saving till the sad day I finish the novels.
In short, the competition in spy dramas is intense. Given this, ITVX, the new streaming service that replaces ITV Hub, was taking a chance having A Spy Among Friends as its curtain raiser. From a minute in, however, it was clear everything was going to be all right on the opening night.
Set in the world of posh chaps who swear in a devilishly attractive fashion, A Spy Among Friends starred Damian Lewis as Nicholas Elliott, sent to Beirut to sort out the problem of his old pal and fellow MI6 agent Kim Philby (Guy Pearce). When Philby defected to Russia there were questions to be answered back in London, and MI5’s Lily Thomas (Anna Maxwell Martin) was the steely Durham rose doing the asking.
The cast was superb and the script by Alexander Cary (Homeland) from the book by Ben Macintyre, top drawer. “I’m not a traitor,” said an affronted Philby to his Russian handler. “I’ve been loyal to Marxism and to the Soviet Union my entire adult life.” It was the movie quality production, though, that lingered longest. From post-war Beirut to grim old London, you could almost smell the money spent.