19 user 4 critic

Cambridge Spies 

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




3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Series cast summary:
Tom Hollander ...  Guy Burgess 4 episodes, 2003
Toby Stephens ...  Kim Philby 4 episodes, 2003
Rupert Penry-Jones ...  Donald Maclean 4 episodes, 2003
Samuel West ...  Anthony Blunt 4 episodes, 2003
Stuart Laing Stuart Laing ...  Jack Hewit 3 episodes, 2003
Darrell D'Silva ...  Henry 2 episodes, 2003
Anna-Louise Plowman ...  Melinda 2 episodes, 2003
Ronald Pickup ...  Colonel Winter 2 episodes, 2003
Marcel Iures ...  Otto 2 episodes, 2003
Angus Wright ...  Guy Liddell 2 episodes, 2003
Patrick Kennedy ...  Julian Bell 2 episodes, 2003
Colin Higgins Colin Higgins ...  Porter 2 episodes, 2003
John Light ...  James Angleton 2 episodes, 2003
Imelda Staunton ...  The Queen 2 episodes, 2003


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


The most notorious double agents in British history.


Drama | History

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The nickname of Harold Philby (Toby Stephens) was "Kim". See more »


Guy Burgess is in a London flat eating Van Camps baked beans from a can. This brand is not available in England. See more »


Kim Philby: To the revolution!
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Version of Philby, Burgess and Maclean (1977) See more »


Alleleuia Chorus from "Messiah" by George Frideric Handel
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User Reviews

Good... but that and no more
29 March 2013 | by greatyarmouthSee 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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Official Sites:






Release Date:

9 May 2003 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Cambridge Spies See more »

Filming Locations:

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(4 parts)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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