Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Drama Review


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy


Author: John le Carré
Starring: Simon Russell Beale, Anna Chancelloe, Anthony Calf, Ewan Bailey and Alex Jennings
BBC Audio
RRP: £15.99
ISBN: 978 1 4084 0087 6
Available 07 January 2010

Smiley, wrestling with retirement and disillusionment, is summoned to a secret meeting with a member of the Cabinet Office. Evidence has emerged that the Circus has been infiltrated at the highest level by a Russian agent. "Find the mole, George. Clean the stables. Do whatever is necessary". Reluctantly Smiley agrees, and so embarks on a dark journey into his past - a past filled with love, duplicity and betrayal...

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is an audio production of John le Carré's 1974 novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Spread over three CDs this audio drama, which has a running time of around three hours, was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between 29 November and 13 December 2009.

Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a star cast including Anna Chancellor, Alex Jennings, Kenneth Cranham and Bill Paterson, this epic Radio 4 dramatisation depicts the complicated moral dilemmas of those who practise post-war espionage and illuminates the murky corners of le Carre's classic spy thriller - the first in the Karla trilogy.

When I received this for review I was a little apprehensive as to how the production had tackled this as an audio drama. Because there is so much information to impart to the listener I was concerned that this would mostly play out like a talking book. True, there are narrated segments, but these are kept to a minimum and well handled. Instead, these necessary wordy scenes are dealt with quite well through conversations that actually manage to hold your interest.

The acting is uniformly impressive and, for those who don't already know how it all turns out, the suspense is kept up incredibly well.


Nick Smithson

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£7.99 (
£8.99 (
£11.19 (
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Dramatised)
£7.95 (iTunes GB)
£8.50 (
£11.99 (
£15.19 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.