Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy stars Alec Guinness as George Smiley, John Le Carr? familiar, ageing British Intelligence agent, called out of retirement to discover the identity of the high-ranking Russian mole who has burrowed deep into "The Circus"--codename for the British secret service. This slow-burning, complicated and ultimately rewarding BBC adaptation, dramatised by Arthur Hopcroft and directed by John Irvin, perfectly captures Le Carr? own insight into the shady underworld of spies and the political climate during the Cold War.
Le Carr? style is the antithesis of his contemporary Ian Fleming's--far from the glamorous lifestyle of Bond, with his fast cars and faster women, these agents ride around in Skodas, and Beryl Reid is the closest thing to a femme fatale, save for Smiley's elusive wife, Anne. An extraordinary cast (including Ian Bannen, Hywel Bennett and Ian Richardson), gritty realism and close attention to detail make Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy an outstanding piece of television drama.