Only a couple of weeks ago I read A Legacy of Spies, published last year; as ever with le Carrè, having to concentrate hard on the intricacies of the plot while drooling with appreciation at the vibrancy of his descriptions, both of people and places. And now I have almost finished re-reading Smiley’s People – written 40 years ago and as intriguing as ever.
So I was looking forward to the Beeb’s new serialisation of The Little Drummer Girl. But, try as I might with the two episodes, I don’t see a credible portrayal of le Carré’s murky, even manic world of deception and misinformation. The written word happily depends on the reader’s imagination for its realism; but this new tv job is a botched-up bore, designed to create an air of mystery but with actors better suited to a reality series. And dare I mention it? The grand master, le Carrè’s femmes fatales are drop-dead gorgeous. (Remember The Night Manager?) This one dies in the attempt.