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First Look Revealed
by Naman Ramachandran | Variety | November 2, 2021
Spectrum Originals/Britbox UK
Variety can exclusively reveal the first look at Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce in “A Spy Among Friends,” a limited series for BritBox U.K. and Spectrum.
“A Spy Among Friends” is based on the New York Times best-selling book written by Ben Macintyre. It is produced in collaboration with Sony Pictures Television, ITV Studios and Veritas Entertainment Group. Lewis also serves as executive producer through his production company, Ginger Biscuit Entertainment. The series has begun production in London and will also shoot in Romania.
Alexander Cary is creator and executive producer alongside ITV Studios’ Patrick Spence and Nick Murphy.
The show dramatizes the true story of Nicholas Elliott (Lewis) and Kim Philby (Pearce) — two spies and lifelong friends, one of whom was betraying the other all along, at the height of the Cold War.
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Tracking Down a Traitor
by Steve Bird | The Telegraph | October 31, 2021
Damian Lewis filming the Cold War drama limited series A Spy Among Friends CREDIT: Julian Simmonds
Budding Bond Damian Lewis stars as the MI6 officer who played cat-and-mouse with Kim Philby.
Damian Lewis’s fascination with spies has seen him play a John Le Carre secret agent and even present an entire documentary series on espionage.
But now, for the first time he has been spotted playing a real life MI6 spy in a new series about the life of Kim Philby during the height of the Cold War.
His role as Nicholas Elliott, an MI6 officer who defended Philby until his treachery became irrefutable, is ideal for Lewis who has insisted he would make a great spy, possibly better than James Bond.
Lewis, 49, was filming in London for the new Britbox series, A Spy Among Friends. Wearing Elliort’s trademark round glasses and pin-stripe suit he was on a specially converted street with 1950’s shop fronts in Pimlico.
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A Ginger Biscuit Entertainment Production
by Peter White | Deadline | October 6, 2021
Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce are to lead the line of limited drama series A Spy Among Friends. Spectrum Originals and BritBox UK have ordered the adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s book to series. It comes over a year after Deadline first revealed the project, which then had Dominic West poised to star alongside Lewis.
It marks Lewis’ first gig since he exited Showtime’s Billions.
The series has started production in London this week and will also shoot in Romania. It will air in the U.S. via Spectrum’s On Demand platform and in the UK via streamer BritBox, a joint venture between the BBC and ITV, in the fall of 2022.
“I’m excited to be producing and starring in A Spy Among Friends. These fabulous scripts by Alex Cary take an up-close look at friendship – a friendship that was blinded by love, class, and membership to the right clubs, and ended in betrayal and the deaths of thousands,” said Lewis. “It’s been a fantastic creative process developing ‘Spy’ and now I can’t wait to start filming with Guy and all the other brilliant actors who’ve happily agreed to join us.”
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A Spy Among Friends
by Jake Kanter, Peter White, Nellie Andrea | Deadline | July 7, 2020
EXCLUSIVE: Billions’ Damian Lewis is in negotiations to headline and executive produce a limited series adaptation of bestselling Cold War espionage thriller A Spy Among Friends for Spectrum Originals and UK streamer BritBox.
The six-episode A Spy Among Friends, based on Ben Macintyre’s book, comes from former Homeland executive producer Alexander Cary, Sony Pictures Television and ITV Studios. While filming has been delayed due to COVID-19, production is expected to recommence shortly, with a tentative release planned for the fall of 2021.
A Spy Among Friends follows the defection of notorious British intelligence officer and KGB double agent, Kim Philby (TBD), through the lens of his complex relationship with MI6 colleague and close friend, Nicholas Elliott (Lewis). The show examines espionage through their friendship, the fallout of which affects East-West relations to this day.
Philby was a British spy who notoriously defected to the Soviet Union in the 1950s, betraying secrets to the Russians in the early years of the Cold War. He and Elliott entered the spy game together, but as they rose through the MI6 ranks, Philby turned double agent.
The double-hander was described by the New York Times as having the tropes of an Ian Fleming or John le Carré novel. Indeed, the book itself contains an afterword from spy story master and The Night Manager author le Carré.
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Espionage in the Spotlight
by Dorothy Rabinowitz | The Wall Street Journal | March 19, 2020
Smithsonian Channel’s series tells shockingly true stories of the clandestine variety. In 1968, a loyal officer of the KGB is so shaken by the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia that he becomes an operative for British and American intelligence—one, “Spy Wars” reveals (begins Sunday, 8 p.m., Smithsonian Channel), destined to be of historic importance. This is the saga of Oleg Gordievsky—subject of the first episode of this eight-part weekly series, and a rich portrait it is. When his role of many years as a spy for the British and Americans finally becomes known to the Kremlin, quick exfiltration becomes an urgent necessity. His 1985 getaway in the trunk of a car driven by unflappable MI6 agents, who get him safely to Finland despite suspicious Russian border guards—and the howls of their alert dogs, who quiet down when the car’s driver throws them a treat—is an escape sequence to cherish.
In 2001, Robert Hanssen—one of the FBI’s most trusted agents—is unmasked as the mole who had, for 20 years, betrayed the identities of American assets in the Soviet Union and then Russia, thus ensuring their deaths at the hands of execution squads.