Home Television Drama Smiley’s People

Smiley’s People

1 9 8 2 (UK)
6 x 60 minute episodes

Alec Guinness returned in this sequel to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as the disillusioned intelligence chief George Smiley, coaxed out of retirement to help deal with the murder of ‘the General’, an old colleague from ‘The Circus’ with some valuable information.

His investigation leads to an old nemesis, the Soviet spymaster and Smiley’s KGB opposite number known only as Karla (Patrick Stewart). But it was Beryl Reid who won a BAFTA Best Actress award for her cameo role of Connie Sachs.

While the earlier series was set mostly in London, with sections in Czechoslovakia and Portugal, the new story mostly takes place in Paris, Germany and Switzerland, with Smiley closing in on Karla by finding an unexpected weak spot while investigating the death of an ex-agent.

The pace across the six one-hour episodes was occasionally a little too stately, meaning the main plot took a little too long to come into focus. During the original airing of the series on BBC television, radio DJ Terry Wogan ran a “Does anyone know what’s going on?” competition on a weekly basis – which amused author John le Carré greatly.

George Smiley
Alec Guinness
Madame Ostrakova 
Eileen Atkins
Lauder Strickland 
Bill Paterson
Otto Leipzig
Vladek Sheybal
Andy Bradford
Toby Esterhase 
Bernard Hepton
Peter Guillam 
Michael Byrne
Alexandra Ostrakova
Tusse Silberg
Oliver Lacon
Anthony Bate
Madame La Pierre
Germaine Delbat
Claus Kretzschmar 
Mario Adorf
The General
Curd Jürgens
Anton Grigoriev
Michael Lonsdale
Saul Enderby 
Barry Foster
Michael Gough
Oleg Kirov
Dudley Sutton
Connie Sachs
Beryl Reid
Patrick Stewart