Screen One (1985–2002)
6 user 7 critic

A Question of Attribution 

Sir Anthony Blunt, who was a Soviet agent for 25 years, is routinely questioned and gives no answers, but is knighted and works as Director of the Courtauld Institute, and presents his ... See full summary »


John Schlesinger


Alan Bennett (play), Alan Bennett (screenplay)




Episode complete credited cast:
James Fox ... Sir Anthony Blunt
Gregory Floy Gregory Floy ... Radiologist
David Calder ... Chubb
Edward de Souza ... Collins
Geoffrey Palmer ... Donleavy
Jason Flemyng ... Colin
John Cater ... Restorer
Richard Bebb Richard Bebb ... Consultant
Ann Beach Ann Beach ... Mrs. Chubb
Julia St John ... Receptionist
Mark Payton Mark Payton ... Phillips
Anne Jameson Anne Jameson ... Blunt's Secretary
Barbara Hicks ... Lady at National Gallery
Prunella Scales ... H.M.Q.


Sir Anthony Blunt, who was a Soviet agent for 25 years, is routinely questioned and gives no answers, but is knighted and works as Director of the Courtauld Institute, and presents his interrogator with a puzzle in the shape of a doubtful Titian painting. He also does art restoration work in Buckingham Palace, where he gets into an interesting conversation with HMQ. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Did You Know?


Based on the same real life events as Another Country (1984), Cambridge Spies (2003), History in Faces: Cambridge Five (2011), Philby, Burgess and Maclean (1977), An Englishman Abroad (1983), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979), Screen Two: Blunt (1987), Play for Today: Traitor (1971), Blade on the Feather (1980), The Jigsaw Man (1983) and influenced the source novels of The Fourth Protocol (1987), The Innocent (1993) and others works such as A Different Loyalty (2004) and The Crown: Olding (2019), even in minor form like in The Imitation Game (2014). See more »


[the Queen knows that Sir Anthony Blunt is a traitor and Blunt knows that the Queen knows this, but both maintain a facade of innocence as they discuss the Queen's art collection, amid many coded references]
H.M.Q.: Portraits are supposed to be frightfully self-revealing, aren't they? Show what one's really like - the secret self. Either that or else the eyes are supposed to follow you round the room. Have you had your portrait painted?
Sir Anthony Blunt: No, Ma'am.
H.M.Q.: So we don't know whether you have a secret self?
H.M.Q.: If ...
See more »


Featured in Alan Bennett at 80: Bennett Meets Hytner (2014) See more »

User Reviews

Of fakes and enigmas
22 November 2009 | by didi-5See all my reviews

Alan Bennett's plays are strongly character driven and A Question of Attribution is no exception.

Like his earlier An Englishman Abroad, this focuses on spies, in this case Anthony Blunt, brilliantly played by James Fox, and his work as keeper of the Queen's pictures. The Queen herself is played by Prunella Scales who stays on the right side of caricature but makes HMQ warm and funny.

The play centres on the topic of fakes, of course mirroring the police investigation searching for the fifth man who worked alongside Blunt, Burgess, Philby and Maclean. Blunt is also investigating a Titian painting which isn't all it seems.

A good play, and typical Bennett.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

4 October 1992 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Your Next Binge Watch Awaits

Looking for something to watch? Check out IMDb's "What to Watch" series to find out what's really worth watching.

Recently Viewed