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Smiley's People (BBC Audio) Audio CD – Audiobook, 6 May 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks (6 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408400898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408400890
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the eighth of the recent BBC radio productions of al John Le Carre's stories featuring master spy George Smiley.

Following the events of `The Honourable Schoolboy', Smiley is now retired. But an old contact is brutally slain, and Smiley is asked by the powers that be to make sure there are no loose ends that could embarrass either the Circus or the British Government. As he trawls through the General's last days and slowly comes to realise just why he was killed, he finds an old adversary at the heart of things, and the opportunity to lay many old ghosts to rest.

Once again this is an admirable bit of writing form Le Carre. Intricately plotted,. With a very real and believable feel. Lacking the glamour of, say, Bond stories, not shing away from the grim and murky realities of life. Smiley lives in a grim and paranoid world, where he cannot trust even those notionally on his own side. The atmosphere is tense and gripping.

As well as the writing, there are a series of fine performances. Simon Russell Beale once again excels as Smiley. His performance is reminiscent of Alec Guinness's, but he manages to put his own stamp quite thoroughly on the role. He shows the ruthlessness of Smiley, along with his regret at doing what has to be done, very convincingly.

The BBC have done a good job at trimming the story down to fit three hours, but without losing too much of the fine detail. I can only compare this to the Guinness TV adaptation, not having read the book, and some detail has been lost but the story is clear and flows well. There is, in addition, a very professional production, with unobtrusive sound effects that nicely help the story and set the scene, but do not detract from the actors performances.
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This series of BBC dramatisations started off as simply brilliant and just get better and better with each new production. The cast, the writing and the production (sounds effects, etc) are all top notch and the result is intensely gripping drama, conjuring up the era, the paranoia and the parallel worlds of sad reality and even sadder espionage

By this point in the series there is a rich back-story that enhances the enjoyment of this instalment, old favourites making welcome if brief returns all adding to the thrust of the plot and the overarching storyline about the inside of the spy business during the cold war.
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It is always difficult to compare with Alec Guinness' peerless performance as George Smiley in the original TV series. However Simon Russell Beale's representation is as close to perfect. The production is faithfully adapted and brilliantly performed.
WARNING: do not listen in the car - it is too grippingly distracting.
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Nowhere near as good as the TV version starring Alec Guinness. I know radio work is a whole different ball game, but there is all too much sighing and grunting used to convey Smiley thinking to himself. Masses of the story has been cut out, which mangles the plot and the plot after all is the essence of the whole point of the story.
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Russell beale is a top notch actor but this version is nothing like as good as the original audio version on cassette. This starred Bernard Hepton as Smiley. More authentic to the book and very atmospheric. Not sure if still available but well worth trying to find.
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