Simon Russell Beale as Smiley

30 May

srb_smiley

Simon Russell Beale is unique. No living actor can match his understanding of language, or his interpretation of character. He will make a superb Smiley, and I feel deeply honoured. – John Le Carre

But who is Smiley, you might ask?

George Smiley is one of the great characters of 20th century fiction and the way he threads, weaves, ducks and dives his way through the complexities of the Cold War has given us some of the century’s most enthralling stories. Be prepared to spend a lot of your Saturday and Sunday afternoons glued to the radio. Recruited into the “Circus” in the late 1920s, when he might so easily have become an Oxford don, George Smiley spends the 1930s and early 1940s working undercover in Nazi Germany in daily fear of betrayal and death. Recalled in 1943, he marries – to general astonishment – the beautiful but eternally unfaithful Lady Ann Sercomb. With the end of the war, he returns to Oxford for a life of scholarly contemplation among the lesser German poets. But rising tension between Soviet Russia and the West draw him back to the Circus as a Cold War warrior. – Jeremy Howe, Radio 4’s Commissioning Editor for Drama

simon_russell_beale_smiley

I caught the first serialization of Call for the Dead and I was right, I can definitely listen to Simon Russell Beale’s voice all day. Even if it was just a phonebook that he was reading, but with that mellifluous voice it will be a treat as this radio play has been. This afternoon listen to A Murder of Quality.

Click here for The Complete Smiley schedule in Radio 4
Photos courtesy of the BBC

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