IMDb > Blade on the Feather (1980) (TV)

Blade on the Feather (1980) (TV) More at IMDbPro »


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Release Date:
19 October 1980 (UK) See more »
Names have been changed to protect the guilty. See more »
A reclusive, elderly author is visited by a young admirer...but both men are more than they claim to be. | Add synopsis »
2 wins & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Unhistorical Fiction, But Admirably Achieves Its Artistic Goals. See more (2 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Kika Markham ... Linda Cavendish

Phoebe Nicholls ... Christabel Cavendish

Donald Pleasence ... Professor Jason Cavendish

Tom Conti ... Daniel Young
Gareth Forwood ... Doctor

Denholm Elliott ... Jack Hill
Bill Weston ... Andrew Cartwright
Joel Samuel ... Young Daniel
Alvar Liddell ... Newsreader (as Alvar Lidell)

Directed by
Richard Loncraine 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Dennis Potter 

Produced by
Kenith Trodd .... producer
Tony Wharmby .... executive producer
Cinematography by
Peter Hannan 
Film Editing by
Jon Costelloe 
Casting by
Diana Parry 
Production Design by
Andrew Drummond 
Art Direction by
James Dillon 
Makeup Department
Sabina Cowan .... makeup artist
Production Management
Jeremy Canney .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
David Brown .... assistant director
Art Department
Rex Dutton .... production buyer
Pat Gavin .... graphic designer
Rosy Guest .... graphic designer
Bert Kitchen .... graphic designer
Stuart Wilson .... carpenter
Sound Department
Richard King .... dubbing mixer
Alan Mills .... sound recordist
Ian O'Donaghue .... boom operator
Other crew
Xenia Ager .... production assistant
Laurence Rooke .... stage manager
Simon Wallace .... floor manager

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Deep Cover" - USA (video title)
See more »
82 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The title, which turns out to be a code-phrase used by Russian spies, comes from the words of the "Eton Boating Song".See more »
Professor Jason Cavendish:Now, what was it you wanted to talk to me about?
Daniel Young:Treachery.
Professor Jason Cavendish:Ah. By that you mean "loyalty," of course.
Daniel Young:Oh, of course.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in "Arena: Dennis Potter" (1987)See more »


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21 out of 23 people found the following review useful.
Unhistorical Fiction, But Admirably Achieves Its Artistic Goals., 7 June 2006
Author: rsoonsa ( from Mountain Mesa, California

The infamous Cambridge Apostles, alumni of Trinity College at the University, supplied the members of that group of double agents, including Guy Burgess, Kim Philby, and Donald MacLean, who opted during the Cold War to side with the Soviet Union against their own MI5/MI6 employers in the 1950s, with their sensational exposure damaging beyond conceivable repair England's longstanding class system, and it is this tawdry affair that composes the spine of this outstanding motion picture filled with superior aesthetic moments. Conceived and scripted by Dennis Potter, the film's action opens upon the setting of a fully-nourished and isolated country estate where an erstwhile Cambridge don, Jason Cavendish (Donald Pleasence) resides in hoped-for seclusion, along with his daughter, second wife, and personal secretary, Mr. Hill, as we watch the two women hard at a highly competitive match of lawn tennis, when suddenly a stranger, Daniel Young (Tom Conti) invades the small group's privacy, albeit fortuitously since he performs successful first aid upon Cavendish after the old man suffers a near fatal attack of an undetermined sort. Young has purportedly come to the estate as an academic researching background of an early fantasy novel by Cavendish, "Cloud Cape", but the other men are suspicious of his agenda, and their proffered hospitality to Daniel, in spite of his lifesaving act, is forced; this not at all being the case with the women, however, who plainly find his aggressive attentions to be very pleasurable. Penned shortly after public identification of Anthony Blunt as the "Fourth Man" of the Cambridge Apostle scandal, the screenplay's title is taken from an Eton boating song (Guy Burgess attended Eton) that is raucously sung here by Cavendish and Hill (Denholm Elliott), additionally being heard during the closing credits. Shot upon the picturesque Isle of Wight, the film is graced by handsome visual texture throughout thanks to the combined talents of director Richard Loncraine and cinematographer Peter Hannan, in addition to the production design of Andrew Drummond, and there are splendidly witty animated graphics from Pat Gavin for the opening credits. Well-known earmarks of Potter's prose style, composed in equal parts of the elevated and the base, are to be found here in plenitude, a challenge easily met by an accomplished cast that benefits hugely from capable editing by Jon Costelloe. There are mysteries here: did Cavendish teach any of the wayward Apostles, who is Hill and what is his true function as secretary to the former don, and why has Young come to the estate? The still existent English class system is rather harshly dissected, most tellingly by Cavendish, as in his remark that "The upper class loves only what it owns." Engrossing from beginning to end, the work leaves lingering images of sequences and dialogue within a viewer's thoughts and must be watched more than once in order to fully appreciate its many merits and, in particular, the interwoven complexities of Potter's script.

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