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London Spy TV series March 12, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Mentioned SS-GB a week or so back. Meanwhile, managed to get hold of a DVD of this, London Spy, from a year or two back. Always a fan of Ben Wishaw since the late lamented (and only two seasons) The Hour, about a fictional British current affairs television show set in the 1950s. Wishaw is a charismatic actor and was glad to be able to get hold of London Spy, the story of a young gay man (payed by Wishaw who is himself gay) who has an affair with someone who is an MI6 spy. When the spy winds up dead in baroque, yet mysterious, circumstances the young man attempts to discover the truth.

Overall good albeit patchy – spying is perhaps the least important component of it – and with some entertainingly clunky plot diversions (for example Charlotte Rampling is fantastic as the mother of the dead man but there’s a whole lot of unnecessary toing and froing about getting to her which makes near enough zero sense in the context of the overall narrative).

The central conceits – the similarities between gay life and lives for many years, the secrecy and social pressure and aggression displayed to gay women and men, and spying – particularly in the Cold War are often well drawn, though sometimes that baroque aspect overwhelms what is in truth a pretty simple plot. It’s also pretty harrowing, particularly in relation to HIV. At points the series don’ts just teeter, but falls right over the edge of melodrama, but Wishaw is never less than convincing, a very human fallible but likeable central character. Anyone else see it?


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