The true story of a group of Cambridge University Students who are recruited to spy for the Soviet Union in the early 1930s.
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1  
2003  
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Guy Burgess (4 episodes, 2003)
...
 Kim Philby (4 episodes, 2003)
...
 Donald Maclean (4 episodes, 2003)
...
 Anthony Blunt (4 episodes, 2003)
Stuart Laing ...
 Jack Hewit (3 episodes, 2003)
Darrell D'Silva ...
 Henry (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 Melinda Maclean (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 Colonel Winter (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 Otto (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 Guy Liddell (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 Julian Bell (2 episodes, 2003)
Colin Higgins ...
 Porter (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 James Angleton (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 The Queen (2 episodes, 2003)
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Storyline

The true story of a group of Cambridge University Students who are recruited to spy for the Soviet Union in the early 1930s.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

9 May 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Cambridge kémei  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(4 parts)

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Did You Know?

Trivia

BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, Jane Tranter, once said of this production which she supervised: "This is an ambitious drama for BBC TWO - a fresh take on the story of the Cambridge Spy ring, which begins at the start of their spying careers. [Writer] Peter Moffat has drawn out its contemporary resonance for a modern audience focusing on their steadfast belief in communism and the passions that drove them to betrayal and huge personal sacrifice." See more »

Goofs

An exterior shot in Cambridge prominently features black-and-gold pedestrian signposts that did not appear in English cities until several decades later. See more »

Quotes

Donald Maclean: Hullo
Melinda Maclean: Hi. You're English.
Donald Maclean: Does it show?
[He gestures to his very British outfit]
Melinda Maclean: You say hello with the letter U where the letter E oughta be.
Donald Maclean: Well, you're American.
Melinda Maclean: You noticed.
Donald Maclean: You say hello with the letter I where the E and the L and the L and the O ought to be.
[They both take a sip of drink]
Donald Maclean: I hate America.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Version of Philby, Burgess and Maclean (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Where or When
written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Good... but that and no more
29 March 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A very highly fictionalised account - but why did it need to be? The story of the Cambridge Five really did deserve better than this.

As drama it can't be faulted, but as a depiction of historical events it left much to be desired. We British are prone to look down upon the American TV movie, and for all the same reasons that were evident in the Cambridge Spies.

The story of the Five is well known enough for me not to have to point out the inaccuracies involved in this production, but beyond that I had no real sense of time and place, and certainly no sense of the evil these men did and the horrors and tragedies that came about as a result of their activities. In four hours there was room enough to get it right.

Some events were tick-boxed in glib exchanges, others rendered risible

  • the horror of Guernica reduced to one aged aeroplane with German


markings, a mother, her son, the rattle of gunfire, the inevitable priest who rushes to the aid of the dead boy.

Philby lost his stammer, MacLean's bisexuality was never hinted at, Burgess became almost a paragon of virtue compared with the reality of the man, and Blunt...

The appeal of this series was, whatever the BBC might say, that it was based around real events. In that case I feel the viewer has a right to expect factual accuracy, otherwise the fictionalisation may as well have extended to the substitution of fictional names for the characters, and the excising of the "what happened next" text before the end-credits.

As BBC drama this was well up to standard, as BBC factual drama it took a long step in the wrong direction.


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