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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Overview
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a 1974 British spy novel
Spy fiction
Spy fiction, literature concerning the forms of espionage, was a sub-genre derived from the novel during the nineteenth century, which then evolved into a discrete genre before the First World War , when governments established modern intelligence agencies in the early twentieth century...

 by John le Carré
John le Carré
David John Moore Cornwell , who writes under the name John le Carré, is an author of espionage novels. During the 1950s and the 1960s, Cornwell worked for MI5 and MI6, and began writing novels under the pseudonym "John le Carré"...

, featuring George Smiley
George Smiley
George Smiley is a fictional character created by John le Carré. Smiley is an intelligence officer working for MI6 , the British overseas intelligence agency...

. Smiley is a middle-aged, taciturn, perspicacious
Perspicacity
Perspicacity is a penetrating discernment - a clarity of vision or intellect which provides a deep understanding and insight....

 intelligence expert
Espionage
Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it...

 in forced retirement. He is recalled to hunt down a Soviet mole
Mole (espionage)
A mole is a spy who works for an enemy nation, but whose loyalty ostensibly lies with his own nation's government. In some usage, a mole differs from a defector in that a mole is a spy before gaining access to classified information, while a defector becomes a spy only after gaining access...

 in the "Circus", the highest echelon of the Secret Intelligence Service
Secret Intelligence Service
The Secret Intelligence Service is responsible for supplying the British Government with foreign intelligence. Alongside the internal Security Service , the Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence Intelligence , it operates under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence...

. In keeping with le Carré's work, the narrative begins in medias res
In medias res
In medias res or medias in res is a Latin phrase denoting the literary and artistic narrative technique wherein the relation of a story begins either at the mid-point or at the conclusion, rather than at the beginning In medias res or medias in res (into the middle of things) is a Latin phrase...

with the repatriation of a captured British spy. The background is supplied during the book through a series of flashbacks
Flashback (narrative)
Flashback is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point the story has reached. Flashbacks are often used to recount events that happened before the story’s primary sequence of events or to fill in crucial backstory...

.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the first novel of the Karla Trilogy, the second and third novels being The Honourable Schoolboy
The Honourable Schoolboy
The Honourable Schoolboy is a spy novel by John le Carré. George Smiley tries to reconstruct an intelligence service and to run a successful offensive espionage operation to save the service from falling to the "war hawks" in government...

(1977) and Smiley's People
Smiley's People
Smiley's People is a spy novel by John le Carré, published in 1979. Featuring British master-spy George Smiley, it is the third and final novel of the "Karla Trilogy", following Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Honourable Schoolboy...

(1979), later published in an omnibus
Anthology
An anthology is a collection of literary works chosen by the compiler. It may be a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts...

 edition as The Quest for Karla
The Quest for Karla
Smiley Versus Karla , by John le Carré, published in the US as The Quest for Karla, is an omnibus edition of three novels concerning George Smiley's fight against Karla, his counterpart in Moscow Centre . The "Karla Trilogy" includes:* Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - * The Honourable Schoolboy - *...

(1982).
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Encyclopedia
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a 1974 British spy novel
Spy fiction
Spy fiction, literature concerning the forms of espionage, was a sub-genre derived from the novel during the nineteenth century, which then evolved into a discrete genre before the First World War , when governments established modern intelligence agencies in the early twentieth century...

 by John le Carré
John le Carré
David John Moore Cornwell , who writes under the name John le Carré, is an author of espionage novels. During the 1950s and the 1960s, Cornwell worked for MI5 and MI6, and began writing novels under the pseudonym "John le Carré"...

, featuring George Smiley
George Smiley
George Smiley is a fictional character created by John le Carré. Smiley is an intelligence officer working for MI6 , the British overseas intelligence agency...

. Smiley is a middle-aged, taciturn, perspicacious
Perspicacity
Perspicacity is a penetrating discernment - a clarity of vision or intellect which provides a deep understanding and insight....

 intelligence expert
Espionage
Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it...

 in forced retirement. He is recalled to hunt down a Soviet mole
Mole (espionage)
A mole is a spy who works for an enemy nation, but whose loyalty ostensibly lies with his own nation's government. In some usage, a mole differs from a defector in that a mole is a spy before gaining access to classified information, while a defector becomes a spy only after gaining access...

 in the "Circus", the highest echelon of the Secret Intelligence Service
Secret Intelligence Service
The Secret Intelligence Service is responsible for supplying the British Government with foreign intelligence. Alongside the internal Security Service , the Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence Intelligence , it operates under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence...

. In keeping with le Carré's work, the narrative begins in medias res
In medias res
In medias res or medias in res is a Latin phrase denoting the literary and artistic narrative technique wherein the relation of a story begins either at the mid-point or at the conclusion, rather than at the beginning In medias res or medias in res (into the middle of things) is a Latin phrase...

with the repatriation of a captured British spy. The background is supplied during the book through a series of flashbacks
Flashback (narrative)
Flashback is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point the story has reached. Flashbacks are often used to recount events that happened before the story’s primary sequence of events or to fill in crucial backstory...

.

Chronology


Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the first novel of the Karla Trilogy, the second and third novels being The Honourable Schoolboy
The Honourable Schoolboy
The Honourable Schoolboy is a spy novel by John le Carré. George Smiley tries to reconstruct an intelligence service and to run a successful offensive espionage operation to save the service from falling to the "war hawks" in government...

(1977) and Smiley's People
Smiley's People
Smiley's People is a spy novel by John le Carré, published in 1979. Featuring British master-spy George Smiley, it is the third and final novel of the "Karla Trilogy", following Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Honourable Schoolboy...

(1979), later published in an omnibus
Anthology
An anthology is a collection of literary works chosen by the compiler. It may be a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts...

 edition as The Quest for Karla
The Quest for Karla
Smiley Versus Karla , by John le Carré, published in the US as The Quest for Karla, is an omnibus edition of three novels concerning George Smiley's fight against Karla, his counterpart in Moscow Centre . The "Karla Trilogy" includes:* Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - * The Honourable Schoolboy - *...

(1982). These are the fifth, sixth, and seventh Le Carré spy novels featuring George Smiley.

Title


Control, the Circus Chief, assigns the code names "Tinker", "Tailor", "Soldier", "Poorman" and "Beggarman" to various senior intelligence officers under suspicion of being a Soviet mole, with the intention that should an agent called Prideaux uncover information about the identity of the mole he can relay it back using an easy-to-recall code the mole is unaware of. The names are derived from the English children's rhyme "Tinker, Tailor
Tinker, Tailor
"Tinker Tailor" is a counting game, nursery rhyme and fortune telling song traditionally played in England, that can be used to count cherry stones, buttons, daisy petals and other items...

". In the book, "Sailor" is not used as it sounds too much like "Tailor".

Plot


Through a love affair with the wife of a Moscow Centre
Moscow Centre
Moscow Centre is a nickname used by John le Carré for the Moscow central headquarters of the KGB, especially those departments concerned with foreign espionage and counterintelligence...

 intelligence officer, British agent Ricki Tarr discovers that there may be a high-ranking Soviet mole, codenamed "Gerald", within the Circus. After going under cover to avoid Soviet agents, Tarr alerts his immediate superior, Peter Guillam
Peter Guillam
Peter Guillam is a fictional character in John le Carré's series of espionage novels. He first appears in Call for the Dead at which time he is working for the Ministry of Defence....

, who in turn notifies Oliver Lacon
Oliver Lacon
Oliver Lacon is a fictional Permanent Secretary at Britain's Cabinet Office in John le Carré's 'George Smiley' spy novels: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People. He is responsible for administrative oversight of The Circus, Le Carré's fictionalised version of...

, the Civil Service officer responsible for the Intelligence Services. Lacon enlists George Smiley
George Smiley
George Smiley is a fictional character created by John le Carré. Smiley is an intelligence officer working for MI6 , the British overseas intelligence agency...

, the retired former Deputy Head of the Service, to investigate. Smiley and Guillam must investigate without the knowledge of the Circus, which is headed by Percy Alleline
Percy Alleline
Sir Percy Alleline is a fictional character in British novelist John le Carré's work. He is the Chief of the "Circus", Le Carré's fictionalised version of MI6/SIS, in the novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy....

 and his deputies Bill Haydon
Bill Haydon
Bill Haydon is a fictional character created by John le Carré, and is a major figure in le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.-Biography:...

, Roy Bland
Roy Bland
Roy Bland is a fictional character in the novels of John le Carré, appearing most prominently inTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. He is a high-ranking official in "The Circus" , and one of five men suspected of being a mole for the Russians.-Background:Unusually for Circus officers, Bland is from a...

, and Toby Esterhase
Toby Esterhase
Toby Esterhase is a fictional character in John le Carré's George Smiley spy novels including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honourable Schoolboy; and Smiley's People, as well as some of the stories in The Secret Pilgrim....

, as any of these could be the mole.

Smiley suspects that "Gerald" was responsible for the failure of Operation Testify, a mission in Communist Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was the official name of Czechoslovakia from 1960 until end of 1989 , a Soviet satellite state of the Eastern Bloc....

, the ostensible purpose of which was the kidnapping of a Czech Army general. Operation Testify ended with Circus agent Jim Prideaux
Jim Prideaux
Jim Prideaux is a fictional Intelligence officer in the novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré. Although his character and actions are central to the plot, they are mostly revealed in sequences of dialogue and flashbacks, or are indirectly referred to.-Character and Career:Jim Prideaux...

 shot in the back, and caused the disgrace and dismissal of Control, former head of Circus, who subsequently died. Prideaux, who survived and was repatriated but was then dismissed from the Circus, reveals to Smiley that Control suspected the mole's existence and the true aim of Operation Testify was to discover the mole's identity, and the Moscow Centre personnel who interrogated him already knew this.

Percy Alleline, who was Control's rival, has risen to head the Circus as a result of seemingly top-grade Soviet intelligence from a source code-named "Merlin". Smiley's investigation leads him to believe that the "Merlin" source is false, and is being used by Moscow Centre to influence the leadership of Circus. Cleverly, Moscow Centre has induced the Circus leadership to believe that "Merlin" maintains his cover in Moscow by feeding them low-grade British intelligence, "chicken feed", from a false Circus mole. As a result, the leaders of the Circus suppress any rumours of a mole, thus protecting the actual mole.

Smiley contrives a trap for the real mole using a communication from Tarr, and "Gerald" is revealed to be Bill Haydon, a respected colleague and former friend who once had an affair with Smiley's now estranged wife. Haydon acknowledges he was recruited by Karla
Karla (fictional character)
Karla is a fictional character in several novels by John le Carré. A Soviet Intelligence officer, he most often appears as a distant antagonist of George Smiley...

, the Moscow Centre spymaster. Haydon is to be exchanged for several of the agents he betrayed, but is killed shortly before he was due to leave England. Though his killer is not explicitly revealed, it is strongly implied to be Prideaux, whose motivation was revenge.

Smiley is appointed temporary head of Circus to deal with the fallout.

Tradecraft jargon


The characters in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974) use a great deal of jargon
Jargon
Jargon is terminology which is especially defined in relationship to a specific activity, profession, group, or event. The philosophe Condillac observed in 1782 that "Every science requires a special language because every science has its own ideas." As a rationalist member of the Enlightenment he...

 for matters specific to their trade. Examples are:
Tradecraft
Tradecraft
Tradecraft is a general term that denotes a skill acquired through experience in a trade.The term is also used within the intelligence community as a collective word for the techniques used in modern espionage...

 term
Definition
Agent An external free-lance person recruited to provide information and services; Circus staff are referred to as intelligence officers.
Babysitters Bodyguards.
Circus The in-house name for MI6, the SIS (Secret Intelligence Service) who collect foreign intelligence. “Circus” refers to the Cambridge Circus
Cambridge Circus, London
Cambridge Circus is a traffic intersection at the intersection of Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road in central London...

 London locale of the headquarters.
The Competition MI5
MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

, the UK’s internal counter-espionage and counter-terrorism service, whom the Circus call "The Security Mob".
The Cousins The CIA in particular and the US intelligences services, in general.
Ferrets Technicians who find and remove hidden microphones, cameras, etc.
Housekeepers The internal auditors and financial
Finance
"Finance" is often defined simply as the management of money or “funds” management Modern finance, however, is a family of business activity that includes the origination, marketing, and management of cash and money surrogates through a variety of capital accounts, instruments, and markets created...

 disciplinarians of the Circus.
Inquisitors Interrogators who debrief Circus intelligence officer
Intelligence officer
An intelligence officer is a person employed by an organization to collect, compile and/or analyze information which is of use to that organization...

s and defectors.
Janitors The Circus headquarters operations staff, including those who watch doors and verify that people entering secure areas are authorised to do so.
Lamplighters A section which provides surveillance and couriers.
Mothers Secretaries and trusted typists serving the senior officers of the Circus.
Nuts and Bolts The engineering department who develop and manufacture espionage devices.
Pavement Artists Men and women spies who inconspicuously follow people in public.
Scalphunters Handle assassination, blackmail, burglary, kidnap, etc.; the section was sidelined after Control’s dismissal.
Shoemakers Forgers
Forgery
Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents with the intent to deceive. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations. Forging money or...

 of documents and the like.
Wranglers Radio signal analysts and cryptographers; the name derives from Wrangler maths students.


The television adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy also uses the term "Burrowers" for a researcher recruited from a University, a term taken from the novel's immediate sequel The Honourable Schoolboy.

Historical influences



Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is John le Carré’s novelisation of his experiences of the revelations in the 1950s and the 1960s which exposed the Cambridge Five
Cambridge Five
The Cambridge Five was a ring of spies, recruited in part by Russian talent spotter Arnold Deutsch in the United Kingdom, who passed information to the Soviet Union during World War II and at least into the early 1950s...

 traitors, among them Guy Burgess
Guy Burgess
Guy Francis De Moncy Burgess was a British-born intelligence officer and double agent, who worked for the Soviet Union. He was part of the Cambridge Five spy ring that betrayed Western secrets to the Soviets before and during the Cold War...

, Donald Maclean
Donald Duart Maclean
Donald Duart Maclean was a British diplomat and member of the Cambridge Five who were members of MI5, MI6 or the diplomatic service who acted as spies for the Soviet Union in the Second World War and beyond. He was recruited as a "straight penetration agent" while an undergraduate at Cambridge by...

, Anthony Blunt
Anthony Blunt
Anthony Frederick Blunt , was a British art historian who was exposed as a Soviet spy late in his life.Blunt was Professor of the History of Art at the University of London, director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, Surveyor of the King's Pictures and London...

, John Cairncross
John Cairncross
John Cairncross was a British intelligence officer during World War II, who passed secrets to the Soviet Union...

 and Kim Philby
Kim Philby
Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby was a high-ranking member of British intelligence who worked as a spy for and later defected to the Soviet Union...

, as KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 moles employed by the SIS
Secret Intelligence Service
The Secret Intelligence Service is responsible for supplying the British Government with foreign intelligence. Alongside the internal Security Service , the Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence Intelligence , it operates under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence...

.

Karla is modelled after KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 Gen. Rem Krassilnikov
Rem Krassilnikov
Major General Rem Krassilnikov, was a counter-intelligence officer of the Soviet Union's State Security Committee .His first name was taken from the Russian phrase Revolutsky Mir...

, whose obituary in the New York Times newspaper reported that the CIA considered him as such. Moreover, skewing in favour of the latter, Smiley reports that Karla was trained by "Berg", Alexander Mikhailovich Orlov, a KGB intelligence officer who defected to the West in 1938.

Bill Haydon derives from Kim Philby
Kim Philby
Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby was a high-ranking member of British intelligence who worked as a spy for and later defected to the Soviet Union...

, who, in the late 1950s, transcended SIS suspicions that he too might be a traitor, given his connection with the defector Guy Burgess
Guy Burgess
Guy Francis De Moncy Burgess was a British-born intelligence officer and double agent, who worked for the Soviet Union. He was part of the Cambridge Five spy ring that betrayed Western secrets to the Soviets before and during the Cold War...

, and continued as an SIS intelligence officer until defecting to the USSR
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in 1963.

Connie Sachs, the Circus's principal researcher, is modelled upon Milicent Bagot.

Television



In 1979, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was adapted to television as a seven-part series for the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, featuring Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
Sir Alec Guinness, CH, CBE was an English actor. He was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he played eight different characters. He later won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai...

 as George Smiley
George Smiley
George Smiley is a fictional character created by John le Carré. Smiley is an intelligence officer working for MI6 , the British overseas intelligence agency...

, of the SIS
Secret Intelligence Service
The Secret Intelligence Service is responsible for supplying the British Government with foreign intelligence. Alongside the internal Security Service , the Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence Intelligence , it operates under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence...

; the initial broadcast coincided with the British Government announcing that Anthony Blunt
Anthony Blunt
Anthony Frederick Blunt , was a British art historian who was exposed as a Soviet spy late in his life.Blunt was Professor of the History of Art at the University of London, director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, Surveyor of the King's Pictures and London...

, the Keeper of the Queen's Pictures, was one of the Cambridge Five
Cambridge Five
The Cambridge Five was a ring of spies, recruited in part by Russian talent spotter Arnold Deutsch in the United Kingdom, who passed information to the Soviet Union during World War II and at least into the early 1950s...

 traitors. In the United States, the Public Broadcasting Service
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 (PBS) broadcast it as part of its "Great Performances
Great Performances
Great Performances, a television series devoted to the performing arts, has been telecast on Public Broadcasting Service public television since 1972...

" series, introduced by the Canadian journalist Robert MacNeil
Robert MacNeil
Robert Breckenridge Ware MacNeil, OC, known sometimes as Robin MacNeil, , is currently a novelist and formerly was a television news anchor and journalist who had paired with Jim Lehrer to create The MacNeil/Lehrer Report in 1975.-Early life:MacNeil was born in Montreal, the son of Margaret...

, who explained the workings of SIS
Secret Intelligence Service
The Secret Intelligence Service is responsible for supplying the British Government with foreign intelligence. Alongside the internal Security Service , the Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence Intelligence , it operates under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence...

.

The title credits feature a matryoshka doll
Matryoshka doll
A matryoshka doll is a Russian nesting doll which is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. The first Russian nested doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, who was a folk crafts painter at Abramtsevo...

 progressively revealing a doll more irate than the previous, with the final doll being faceless, an allusion to Winston Churchill’s describing Russia as “A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”; analogously, the literary George Smiley concludes that only Karla saw the last doll in the British traitor. The closing credits music, an arrangement of Nunc dimittis
Nunc dimittis
The Nunc dimittis is a canticle from a text in the second chapter of Luke named after its first words in Latin, meaning 'Now dismiss...'....

("Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace") from the Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

 (1662), was composed by Geoffrey Burgon
Geoffrey Burgon
Geoffrey Alan Burgon was a British composer notable for his television and film themes.-Life and career:Burgon was born in Hampshire in 1941, and taught himself the trumpet in order to join a jazz band at school...

 for organ, trumpet and treble
Boy soprano
A boy soprano is a young male singer with an unchanged voice in the soprano range. Although a treble, or choirboy, may also be considered to be a boy soprano, the more colloquial term boy soprano is generally only used for boys who sing, perform, or record as soloists, and who may not necessarily...

; the score earned the Ivor Novello Award for 1979.

In the United States, subsequent syndicated broadcasts and DVD releases compressed the seven British episodes into six, in which scenes were shortened and the narrative sequence altered. In the British original, Smiley visits Connie Sachs before Peter Guillam's burglary of the Circus, while the US version reverses the sequence of these events.
Cast

  • George Smiley
    George Smiley
    George Smiley is a fictional character created by John le Carré. Smiley is an intelligence officer working for MI6 , the British overseas intelligence agency...

     — Alec Guinness
    Alec Guinness
    Sir Alec Guinness, CH, CBE was an English actor. He was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he played eight different characters. He later won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai...

  • Peter Guillam
    Peter Guillam
    Peter Guillam is a fictional character in John le Carré's series of espionage novels. He first appears in Call for the Dead at which time he is working for the Ministry of Defence....

     — Michael Jayston
    Michael Jayston
    Michael Jayston is a Nottingham-born English actor.- Early life :He attended the Becket Grammar School in West Bridgford, then worked briefly as a trainee accountant at the offices of the National Coal Board before obtaining a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to train as an...

  • Oliver Lacon
    Oliver Lacon
    Oliver Lacon is a fictional Permanent Secretary at Britain's Cabinet Office in John le Carré's 'George Smiley' spy novels: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People. He is responsible for administrative oversight of The Circus, Le Carré's fictionalised version of...

     — Anthony Bate
    Anthony Bate
    Anthony Bate is an English actor.He is possibly best known for his role as Oliver Lacon in the BBC television adaptations of the John le Carré novels Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People....

  • Toby Esterhase
    Toby Esterhase
    Toby Esterhase is a fictional character in John le Carré's George Smiley spy novels including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honourable Schoolboy; and Smiley's People, as well as some of the stories in The Secret Pilgrim....

     — Bernard Hepton
    Bernard Hepton
    Bernard Hepton is a British actor of stage, film and television.Hepton is known as a particularly versatile character actor. He trained at Bradford Civic Theatre school under Esme Church along with actors such as Robert Stephens...

  • Bill Haydon
    Bill Haydon
    Bill Haydon is a fictional character created by John le Carré, and is a major figure in le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.-Biography:...

     — Ian Richardson
    Ian Richardson
    Ian William Richardson CBE was a Scottish actor best known for his portrayal of the Machiavellian Tory politician Francis Urquhart in the BBC's House of Cards trilogy. He was also a leading Shakespearean stage actor....

  • Jim Prideaux
    Jim Prideaux
    Jim Prideaux is a fictional Intelligence officer in the novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré. Although his character and actions are central to the plot, they are mostly revealed in sequences of dialogue and flashbacks, or are indirectly referred to.-Character and Career:Jim Prideaux...

     — Ian Bannen
    Ian Bannen
    Ian Bannen was a Scottish character actor and occasional leading man.-Early life and career:Bannen was born in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, the son of Clare and John James Bannen, a lawyer. Bannen served in the British Army after attending St Aloysius' College, Glasgow and Ratcliffe College,...

  • Ricki Tarr — Hywel Bennett
    Hywel Bennett
    Hywel Thomas Bennett is a Welsh film and television actor. Bennett is best known for his recurring title role as James Shelley in the television sitcom Shelley from 1979 to 1984 and its sequel The Return of Shelley from 1988 to 1992....

  • Percy Alleline
    Percy Alleline
    Sir Percy Alleline is a fictional character in British novelist John le Carré's work. He is the Chief of the "Circus", Le Carré's fictionalised version of MI6/SIS, in the novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy....

     — Michael Aldridge
    Michael Aldridge
    Michael William ffolliott Aldridge was an English actor. While it was his role as Seymour in the television series Last of the Summer Wine which made him widely recognised, his long career as a successful character actor on stage and screen dated back to the 1930s.-Early life:The son of Dr...

  • Roy Bland
    Roy Bland
    Roy Bland is a fictional character in the novels of John le Carré, appearing most prominently inTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. He is a high-ranking official in "The Circus" , and one of five men suspected of being a mole for the Russians.-Background:Unusually for Circus officers, Bland is from a...

     — Terence Rigby
    Terence Rigby
    Terence Christopher Rigby was an English actor with a number of film and television credits to his name. In the 1970s he was well-known as police dog-handler PC Snow in the long-running series Softly, Softly: Taskforce...

  • Control — Alexander Knox
    Alexander Knox
    Alexander Knox was a Canadian actor and author of adventure novels set in the Great Lakes area during the 19th century.-Biography:...

  • Mendel — George Sewell
    George Sewell
    George Sewell was an English actor.-Early life and early career:The son of a Hoxton printer and a florist; Sewell left school at age 14 and worked briefly in the printing trade before switching to building work, specifically the repair of bomb-damaged houses...

  • Connie Sachs
    Connie Sachs
    Connie Sachs is a fictional character created by John le Carré. Sachs plays a key supporting role in le Carré's Karla Trilogy of spy novels including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honourable Schoolboy; and Smiley's People....

     — Beryl Reid
    Beryl Reid
    Beryl Elizabeth Reid, OBE was a British actress of stage and screen.-Early life:Born in Hereford, England in 1919, Reid was the daughter of Scottish parents and grew up in Manchester where she attended Withington and Levenshulme High Schools.-Career:Reid applied for and was accepted in a revue in...

  • Jerry Westerby — Joss Ackland
    Joss Ackland
    Sidney Edmond Jocelyn Ackland CBE , known as Joss Ackland, is an English actor who has appeared in more than 130 films and numerous television roles.-Early life:...

  • Ann Smiley — Siân Phillips
    Siân Phillips
    Jane Elizabeth Ailwên "Siân" Phillips, CBE, is a Welsh actress.-Early life:Phillips was born in Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen, Neath Port Talbot, Wales, the daughter of Sally , a teacher, and David Phillips, a steelworker-turned-policeman...

  • Roddy Martindale — Nigel Stock
  • Karla — Patrick Stewart
    Patrick Stewart
    Sir Patrick Hewes Stewart, OBE is an English film, television and stage actor, who has had a distinguished career in theatre and television for around half a century...

  • Sam Collins — John Standing
    John Standing
    Sir John Ronald Leon Standing, 4th Baronet is an English actor.-Early life:Standing was born John Ronald Leon in London, the son of Kay Hammond , an actress, and Sir Ronald George Leon, a stockbroker...

  • Tufty Thessinger — Thorley Walters
    Thorley Walters
    Thorley Walters was an English character actor.He is probably best remembered for his comedy film roles such as in Two-Way Stretch and Carlton-Browne of the FO...

  • Molly Purcell — Mandy Cuthbert
  • Alwyn — Warren Clarke
    Warren Clarke
    -Biography:Clarke was born in Oldham, Lancashire. His first television appearance was in the long running Granada soap opera Coronation Street, initially as Kenny Pickup in 1966 and then as Gary Bailey in 1968. His first major film appearance was in Stanley Kubrick's controversial A Clockwork...

  • Irina — Susan Kodicek
    Pullover Productions
    Pullover Productions Ltd was a television production company responsible for a number of UK children's programmes in the 1980s. The company specialised in puppetry using black light theatre techniques, particularly animating everyday objects such as umbrellas, dishcloths, balls or shoes.- History...

  • Fawn — Alec Sabin
    Alec Sabin
    Alec Sabin is a British actor.His television appearances include: Coronation Street, When the Boat Comes In, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Maybury, Doctor Who, Bergerac, Call Me Mister and Birds of a Feather.-External links:...

  • Boris — Hilary Minster
    Hilary Minster
    Roger Michael Hilary Minster, better known as Hilary Minster, was an English character actor....

  • Polyakov — George Pravda
    George Pravda
    George Pravda was a Czechoslovakian film and television actor.He began his career in Czechoslovakia, where he was credited as Jirí Pravda, and then emigrated to the United Kingdom....

  • “Jumbo” Roach — Duncan Jones
  • Mrs Pope Graham — Pauline Letts
  • Headmaster — John Wells
  • Lauder Strickland — Frank Moorey
  • Bryant — Frank Compton
  • Alisa Brimley — Marjorie Hogan
  • Paul Skordeno — Joe Praml


Radio


In 1988, BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 broadcast a dramatisation, by Rene Basilico, of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in seven weekly half-hour episodes, produced by John Fawcett-Wilson; it is available as a BBC audiobook in CD and audio cassette formats. Notably, Bernard Hepton
Bernard Hepton
Bernard Hepton is a British actor of stage, film and television.Hepton is known as a particularly versatile character actor. He trained at Bradford Civic Theatre school under Esme Church along with actors such as Robert Stephens...

 portrays George Smiley
George Smiley
George Smiley is a fictional character created by John le Carré. Smiley is an intelligence officer working for MI6 , the British overseas intelligence agency...

; nine years earlier, he had portrayed Toby Esterhase
Toby Esterhase
Toby Esterhase is a fictional character in John le Carré's George Smiley spy novels including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honourable Schoolboy; and Smiley's People, as well as some of the stories in The Secret Pilgrim....

 in the television adaption.

In 2009, BBC Radio 4 also broadcast new dramatisations, by Shaun McKenna
Shaun McKenna
Shaun McKenna is an English dramatist, lyricist and screenwriter.-Biography:Shaun studied at Maidstone Grammar School and the University of Bristol...

, of the eight George Smiley novels by John le Carré, featuring Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale, CBE is an English actor. He has been described by The Independent as "the greatest stage actor of his generation."-Early years:...

 as George Smiley of the SIS. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was broadcast as three, one-hour episodes, from Sunday 29 November to Sunday 13 December 2009 in BBC Radio 4’s Classic Serial slot; the producer was Steven Canny
Steven Canny
Steven Canny is a BBC Executive Producer in Radio Comedy and a writer of plays for the stage.Canny began his career as a theatre director and writer...

.

Cinema


Swedish director Tomas Alfredson
Tomas Alfredson
Tomas Alfredson is a Swedish film director, best known internationally for directing the 2008 vampire film Let the Right One In...

 made a film adaptation in 2011 in cinema based on a screenplay by Bridget O'Connor
Bridget O'Connor
Bridget O'Connor was an award-winning author, playwright and screenwriter. She is best known for her play The Flags and her adaptation, with husband Peter Straughan, of the book Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy for the film of the same name...

 and Peter Straughan
Peter Straughan
Peter Straughan is a playwright and author, based in the north-east of England.Peter Straughan was the writer-in-residence at Newcastle's Live Theatre Company. Whilst there, Live staged his plays Bones and Noir...

. The film was released in the UK and Ireland on 16 September 2011, and will be released in the United States on 9 December 2011. It included a cameo appearance
Cameo appearance
A cameo role or cameo appearance is a brief appearance of a known person in a work of the performing arts, such as plays, films, video games and television...

 by John le Carré.
Cast

  • Gary Oldman
    Gary Oldman
    Gary Leonard Oldman is an English actor, voice actor, filmmaker and musician.A member of the 1980s Brit Pack, Oldman came to prominence via starring roles in British films Meantime , Sid and Nancy and Prick Up Your Ears , with his performance in the latter bringing him his first BAFTA Award...

     as George Smiley
    George Smiley
    George Smiley is a fictional character created by John le Carré. Smiley is an intelligence officer working for MI6 , the British overseas intelligence agency...

  • Colin Firth
    Colin Firth
    SirColin Andrew Firth, CBE is a British film, television, and theatre actor. Firth gained wide public attention in the 1990s for his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 television adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice...

     as Bill Haydon
    Bill Haydon
    Bill Haydon is a fictional character created by John le Carré, and is a major figure in le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.-Biography:...

  • Tom Hardy
    Tom Hardy
    Edward Thomas "Tom" Hardy is an English actor. He is best known for playing the title character in the 2008 British film Bronson, the character of Eames in Inception, and the villain Praetor Shinzon in Star Trek Nemesis...

     as Ricki Tarr
  • Mark Strong
    Mark Strong
    Mark Strong is an English actor, with a body of work in both films and television. He has performed in films as varied as Body of Lies, Syriana, The Young Victoria, Sherlock Holmes, RocknRolla, Stardust, and Kick-Ass...

     as Jim Prideaux
    Jim Prideaux
    Jim Prideaux is a fictional Intelligence officer in the novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré. Although his character and actions are central to the plot, they are mostly revealed in sequences of dialogue and flashbacks, or are indirectly referred to.-Character and Career:Jim Prideaux...

  • Ciarán Hinds
    Ciarán Hinds
    Ciarán Hinds is an Irish film, television and stage actor. He has built up a reputation as a versatile character actor appearing in such high profile films as Road to Perdition, The Phantom of the Opera, Munich, There Will Be Blood and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. His television roles include...

     as Roy Bland
    Roy Bland
    Roy Bland is a fictional character in the novels of John le Carré, appearing most prominently inTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. He is a high-ranking official in "The Circus" , and one of five men suspected of being a mole for the Russians.-Background:Unusually for Circus officers, Bland is from a...

  • Benedict Cumberbatch
    Benedict Cumberbatch
    Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch is an English film, television, and theatre actor. His most acclaimed roles include Stephen Hawking in the BBC drama Hawking ; William Pitt in the historical film Amazing Grace ; the protagonist Stephen Ezard in the miniseries thriller The Last Enemy ; Paul...

     as Peter Guillam
    Peter Guillam
    Peter Guillam is a fictional character in John le Carré's series of espionage novels. He first appears in Call for the Dead at which time he is working for the Ministry of Defence....

  • David Dencik
    David Dencik
    David Dencik is a Swedish actor.After having had minor roles in different films, David Dencik became an established actor in Sweden for his role as the killer John Ausonius in the three-part TV mini-series Lasermannen in 2005...

     as Toby Esterhase
    Toby Esterhase
    Toby Esterhase is a fictional character in John le Carré's George Smiley spy novels including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honourable Schoolboy; and Smiley's People, as well as some of the stories in The Secret Pilgrim....

  • Stephen Graham
    Stephen Graham (actor)
    Stephen Graham is an English actor from Kirkby, Liverpool. He is best known for his roles as Tommy in the movie Snatch, Combo in This Is England and its four-part television sequel This Is England '86, Danny Ferguson in Occupation, Billy Bremner in The Damned United, notorious bank robber Baby...

     as Jerry Westerby
  • Simon McBurney
    Simon McBurney
    Simon Montagu McBurney, OBE is an English actor, writer and director. He is the founder and artistic director of Théâtre de Complicité in England, now called Complicite.-Early life:...

     as Oliver Lacon
    Oliver Lacon
    Oliver Lacon is a fictional Permanent Secretary at Britain's Cabinet Office in John le Carré's 'George Smiley' spy novels: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People. He is responsible for administrative oversight of The Circus, Le Carré's fictionalised version of...

  • Toby Jones
    Toby Jones
    Toby Edward Heslewood Jones is an English actor.-Early life:Jones was born in Hammersmith, London, the son of actors Jennifer and Freddie Jones...

     as Percy Alleline
    Percy Alleline
    Sir Percy Alleline is a fictional character in British novelist John le Carré's work. He is the Chief of the "Circus", Le Carré's fictionalised version of MI6/SIS, in the novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy....

  • John Hurt
    John Hurt
    John Vincent Hurt, CBE is an English actor, known for his leading roles as John Merrick in The Elephant Man, Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Mr. Braddock in The Hit, Stephen Ward in Scandal, Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant and An Englishman in New York...

     as Control
  • Svetlana Khodchenkova
    Svetlana Khodchenkova
    Svetlana Khodchenkova is a Russian film, stage, and television actress.She became known after starring in the movie Bless the Woman , for which she received a nomination for the Nika Award and continued her career with the role of clairvoyant Cassandra in the historic television series Mascot Love...

     as Irina
  • Kathy Burke
    Kathy Burke
    Katherine Lucy Bridget Burke is an English actress, comedienne, playwright and theatre director. She is best known for her portrayals of Perry in the Harry Enfield film Kevin and Perry Go Large, and of Linda La Hughes in the British sitcom Gimme Gimme Gimme...

     as Connie Sachs
    Connie Sachs
    Connie Sachs is a fictional character created by John le Carré. Sachs plays a key supporting role in le Carré's Karla Trilogy of spy novels including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honourable Schoolboy; and Smiley's People....

  • Roger Lloyd-Pack as Mendel
  • Christian McKay
    Christian McKay
    -Early life:McKay was born in Bury, Lancashire. His mother is a hairdresser and his father is a railway worker. He studied piano as a youth, and had performed the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 at age 21...

     as Mackelvore
  • Konstantin Khabenskiy as Polyakov


External links