A Spy Among Friends – The DVDfever Review – ITVX drama – Guy Pearce, Damian Lewis

A Spy Among Friends A Spy Among Friends is the first drama to premiere on ITV’s new streaming channel, ITVX, which replaces the old ITV Hub, but the new name reminds me of TVX, aka Television X, and you certainly can’t get THAT free-to-view, except for the free 10-minute slot at midnight…

It’s based on the novel, by Ben Macintyre, which we’re told has been altered for its screnen version with with some scenes/characters changed/added etc. – the usual that we’re used to.

It’s January 8th, 1963, and Flora Solomon (Anastasia HilleThe Ipcress File) wants to spill the beans on everything she knows about Kim Philby, a man who may or may not be telling the truth to anyone he speaks to. However, given that within the month, it’s suspected he defected to Russia, could we trust anything he says, even if he’s played by the brilliant Guy Pearce (A Christmas Carol 2019), who wouldn’t lie to anyone?

Keeping an eye on him is Nicholas Elliott (Damian LewisDream Horse), who we see during a key scene where they’re together in a posh, smoky gentleman’s club, which gets bombed during the Blitz. Meanwhile, since everyone is suspected of wrongdoing, Anna Maxwell Martin (Line of Duty) – as fictional character Lily Thomas – is keeping an eye on Elliott as he keeps an eye on Philby… at which point my brain starts to hurt.

So, is Philby working for the Russians? What is real and what is Memorex? Elliott gets across how Philby is very charismatic and could draw people in, so anything could be possible.

However, after one episode, A Spy Among Friends doesn’t feel very accessible. The plotting is very complex, there’s dodgy Russians, secret meetings in Beirut, plus lots of mumbling dialogue, and on the preview I saw, there were no subtitles, so if I do watch any more, I’ll see it on ITVX when it goes live. That said, while I’m not a bookworm, I wasn’t wowed by the TV adaptation of the novelist’s SAS Rogue Heroes.

Thanks to our friends at ITV for the screener prior to release.

A Spy Among Friends begins on Thursday December 8th on ITVX. It’s not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.

However, you can buy the Paperback and Kindle.

A Spy Among Friends – Official Trailer – ITVX

Director: Nick Murphy
Producer: Chrissy Skinns
Screenwriter: Alexander Cary
Novel: Ben Macintyre
Music: Dustin O’Halloran

Kim Philby: Guy Pearce
Nicholas Elliot: Damian Lewis
Lily Thomas: Anna Maxwell Martin
Flora Solomon: Anastasia Hille
Donald Maclean: Daniel Lapaine
Dick ‘C’ White: Nicholas Pritchard
Sir Roger Hollis: Adrian Edmondson
Elizabeth Elliott: Lucy Akhurst
Sailor: Janeks Dabidorics
Commissionaire: Colin Mace
Watcher: Alex Price
James Jesus Angleton: Stephen Kunken
Desmond Bristow (Boris): Jolyon Coy
Tim Milne: Steven Elder
Col. Sergei Brontov: Karel Roden
Waiter Sam: Oscar Batterham
Henri: Rezo Diako
Aileen Philby: Anna Andresen
Sir Anthony Blunt: Nicholas Rowe
Guy Burgess: Thomas Arnold
American Reporter: Jed Aukin
Vladimir: Denis Khoroshko
Arthur Martin: Rick Warden
Jane Sissmore: Lucy Russell
MI6 Cabbie: Jay Simpson
Dr Robert Thomas: Gershwyn Eustache Jnr
Eric Morecambe: Neil Grainger
Ernie Wise: Harry McEntire
Dick: Duncan McInnes
Sid: Philip Dunning