Categories A Spy Among Friends Print Media Review

REVIEW: TV – A Spy Among Friends

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.

Read the rest of the original article at The Herald Scotland

Categories A Spy Among Friends Print Media Review

REVIEW: Stunning Spy Thrillers on the Streaming Services

Brilliantly Constructed

by David Pollock | The Courier | December 10, 2022

Christmas has come early for fans of high-quality British spy thrillers, with two excellent and very different espionage series now up on streaming television.

The new kid on the block is the one with the classic feel, a six-part adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s 2014 book A Spy Among Friends (ITVX). Macintyre’s work has been a telly flavour of this year, with the recent BBC hit SAS Rogue Heroes also adapted from one of his works.

The Kim Philby Affair
The original A Spy Among Friends was subtitled ‘Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal’, and it told the story – or rather, the network of stories and characters – behind the 1963 defection of high-ranking Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, now MI6) agent and Soviet spy Philby to Russia.

Adapted by writer Alex Cary and starring Guy Pearce as Philby and Damian Lewis as his friend and colleague Nicholas Elliott, the show is an account of the saga which begins in the aftermath of the spy’s flight to Moscow from Beirut.

Elliott is under suspicion as an accomplice, as he was the last British agent to debrief Philby over several days in a bugged Beirut apartment.

The first episode is slow but brilliantly constructed, one of those thrillers that’s so pitch-perfect in its writing that much of the tension comes in waiting for each new line of crisply-delivered dialogue. Conversations are conducted like swordfights, rather than exercises in simply filling the plotting gaps.

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Categories A Spy Among Friends Print Media Video

VIDEO: Nick Murphy and Anna Maxwell Martin Delve Into Intense Interrogation Scenes With Damian Lewis

Meeting of the Minds

by Sabrina Barr | The Metro | December 10, 2022

In the newly-released ITVX drama, Lewis stars as Nicholas Elliott, a MI6 agent who was duped for years by his friend and close colleague, Kim Philby (Guy Pearce). It turns out that during the Second World War and early years of the Cold War, Philby was feeding secrets back to the Soviet Union, having been working as a double agent – the most notorious in British history, in fact.

Line of Duty star Maxwell Martin plays Lily Thomas, the only fictional character in the story, who works at MI5 and is brought in to ascertain whether Elliott had some involvement in Philby’s deception and eventual fleeing, as he went on to defect to Moscow in 1963. Watch video below:

Continue reading VIDEO: Nick Murphy and Anna Maxwell Martin Delve Into Intense Interrogation Scenes With Damian Lewis

Categories A Spy Among Friends Print Media Review

REVIEW: A Spy Among Friends-M16 Poshos and the Club That is Britain’s Old Elite

Posh Omerta

by Hugo Rifkind | The Times | December 9, 2022

Posh omerta. Let’s talk about that. It’s at the heart, pretty much, of A Spy Among Friends, a tremendous new espionage thriller on ITVX. And no, I’m not wholly clear what ITVX is either, but let’s move on.

An adaptation — like so many things these days — of a book by my colleague Ben Macintyre, it stars Guy Pearce as the treacherous MI6 spy Kim Philby and Damian Lewis as Nicholas Elliott, a friend and fellow spy who was the first to confront him. We have Anna Maxwell Martin as the fictional MI5 agent Lily Thomas, and Karel Roden as a Soviet handler known only as Sergei. At first, at least, it is basically three circling, interlocking conversations. Elliott questions Philby in Beirut before Thomas questions Elliot in the UK and Sergei debriefs Philby in the USSR.

Continue reading REVIEW: A Spy Among Friends-M16 Poshos and the Club That is Britain’s Old Elite

Categories A Spy Among Friends Print Media Video

VIDEO: Damian Lewis and Alex Cary Introduce A Spy Among Friends

No One’s Heard of Nicholas Elliott

by Sabrina Barr | Yahoo! UK News | December 9, 2022

Host Johnny has Zoom interview with Damian and Alex Cary to discuss bringing to life ITVX’s new thriller A Spy Among Friends. Johnny first compliments Band of Brothers as the best historical series ever made for television and thanks Damian for being a part of something so meaningful in his own personal life. When discussing Spy and how well-known the story and particularly Philby is, Damian shares,

“We worried, we have worried at times you know, [that] Kim Philby is so well known as part of the Cambridge Spy Ring of the 30’s, but I think that’s probably true of an older generation, that’s right, and I think anyone that we hope will sit down to watch this, which is from 15-year-olds to 75-year-olds, but from the 15 to 40-year-old crowd, I think you’re right. I think a lot of people won’t know much about him. What appealed to us, at least to me, was that Nicholas Elliott, his best friend, is even less well- known. No one’s heard of him.”

Watch video at the source here.

Categories A Spy Among Friends Print Media Video

VIDEO: Alex Cary Discusses Difference Between A Spy Among Friends and Homeland

Comparing the Spy Thrillers

by Sabrina Barr | The Metro | December 9, 2022

A Spy Among Friends writer Alex Cary has opened up about how the espionage drama differs from Homeland, having previously worked with Damian Lewis on the American spy thriller.

The new series, released on streaming platform ITVX and based on the book of the same name by Ben Macintyre, tells the true story of double agent Kim Philby, played by Guy Pearce, who was discovered to have been feeding secrets back to the Soviet Union throughout his several years enlisted by MI6. Watch video below:

Continue reading VIDEO: Alex Cary Discusses Difference Between A Spy Among Friends and Homeland

Categories A Spy Among Friends Behind the Scenes Print Media

Behind the Scenes of Making ITVX’s A Spy Among Friends

Blue Chip Drama Makes It Mark

by Staff | Televisual Media | December 9, 2022

A Spy Among Friends is the first original drama to land on new streaming service ITVX. “It’s a spy story, but larger than that, it’s a story about friendship,” says screenwriter Alex Cary.

The idea came in 2018, when Los Angeles-based Cary got a call from author Ben Macintyre’s manager, who played squash at the same LA club. Knowing Cary had worked on US spy thriller Homeland as writer/producer, he suggested Macintyre’s book A Spy Among Friends.

Continue reading Behind the Scenes of Making ITVX’s A Spy Among Friends

Categories A Spy Among Friends Print Media Review

REVIEW: A Spy Among Friends So Good It Should Be Savoured Not Devoured

Small Screen Spectacle

by Susan Knox | Irish Mirror | December 8, 2022

ITV kindly launched an adaptation of another Ben MacIntyre book, A Spy Among Friends, the opening episode of which made me want to do exactly what the opening episode of Rogue Heroes made me want to do: Dive in and watch the whole bally thing in one go.

That was a possibility, thanks to it being available on ITV’s new streaming platform ITVX. (No, me neither – but it’s the future, apparently.) However, I decided that the small screen spectacle of Damian Lewis, Guy Pearce and Anna Maxwell Martin at the top of their games should be savoured, not devoured.

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Categories A Spy Among Friends Interviews Podcast

Podcast: Damian Lewis and Alex Cary Talk to Tom Sutcliffe on BBC Sounds

Political and Personal Betrayal

by BBC Sounds Podcast | BBC | December 8, 2022

The story of double agent and defector Kim Philby has been told many times. A Spy Among Friends, a new six-episode series on ITVX, focuses on Nicholas Elliott, Philby’s lifelong friend. Damian Lewis, who plays Elliott, and writer Alexander Cary talk to Tom Sutcliffe about telling the story of political and personal betrayal anew. Listen to the podcast here, beginning at 11:20.

Source: BBC

Categories A Spy Among Friends Podcast

Podcast: Damian Lewis Chats About His New Thriller on ITVX

A Spy Among Friends

by Robyn Salt and Chris Lockyer| Sky News/Backstage Podcast | December 8, 2022

Sky News colleague spoke to Damian about one of the reasons he wanted to do A Spy Among Friends.You can listen to the podcast in its entirety here. which begins at 21:20, and Damian’s portion begins around 29:00. Snippet video here.

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Categories A Spy Among Friends Print Media

A Spy Among Friends True Story: The Explosive Real Saga of ITVX Drama

A Basis In Reality

by James Hibbs | Radio Times  | December 8, 2022

With new streaming service ITVX now having launched, TV fans will likely be diving into the platform’s first brand new dramas, including long-awaited Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce spy series A Spy Among Friends.

The show tells the story of a Soviet defector amongst the British intelligence services during the Cold War, with the widespread betrayal hitting particularly intimately for his friend and colleague.

Continue reading A Spy Among Friends True Story: The Explosive Real Saga of ITVX Drama

Categories A Spy Among Friends Print Media Review

REVIEW: A Spy Among Friends – A Terrific Espionage Drama

Emotional Intelligence

by Matthew d’Ancona | Tortois Media  | December 8, 2022

The key text is supplied by aesthete Anthony Blanche in Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. “I took you out to dinner to warn you of charm,” he says to his old Oxford friend, Charles Ryder. “Charm is the great English blight. It does not exist outside these damp islands. It spots and kills anything it touches. It kills love; it kills art; I greatly fear, Charles, it has killed you.”

In modern history, rather than fiction, there is no greater example of the lethally corrosive power of charm than Kim Philby: dazzling Cambridge undergraduate; senior MI6 officer tipped to head the intelligence service; our man in Washington, where he formed deep friendships with many in the US intelligence community, notably rising CIA star, James Jesus Angleton; foreign correspondent for the Observer and Economist; and – between his recruitment in Regent’s Park in July 1934 to his death in a Moscow hospital in May 1988 – a ruthlessly devoted servant of the KGB, traitor to his country, and agent on behalf of Soviet communism.

Continue reading REVIEW: A Spy Among Friends – A Terrific Espionage Drama