- TV Mini Series
- 3h 55m
The true story of a group of Cambridge University Students who are recruited to spy for the Soviet Union in the early 1930s.The true story of a group of Cambridge University Students who are recruited to spy for the Soviet Union in the early 1930s.The true story of a group of Cambridge University Students who are recruited to spy for the Soviet Union in the early 1930s.
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.
- Mar 29, 2013