Thursday, 28 November 2013


Tonight's TV tip is a feature length adaptation of the writer Alan Judd's 2001 spy novel Legacy as part of their excellent ongoing Cold War Season.

This is actually the second book by Judd to feature his protagonist Charles Thoroughgood. His first was 1981's A Breed Of Heroes, and it is one I'm currently reading (and loving) That novel concerned Thoroughgood's military service and an incident packed first tour in early 70s Northern Ireland at the height of The Troubles. It was adapted by the legendary Charles Wood (Tumbledown, Charge Of The Light Brigade, How I Won The War and The Long Day's Dying to name but a few) for the BBC Screen One strand in 1994 and starred Samuel West as Thoroughgood alongside the likes of Jonathan Firth, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Robert Bathurst and Alexander Armstrong.

This time around, Charlie Cox (Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire) plays Thoroughgood, who has now left the army to become a trainee MI6 agent. It's 1974, the middle of the Cold War. The three day week, petrol rationing and industrial strife has plunged Britain into a state of emergency. Against this backdrop, Charles Thoroughgood is asked to revive his former friendship with Viktor Koslov (Sherlock's pantoesque Andrew Scott) a Russian diplomat he knew at Oxford with a view to 'turning' him. But Viktor has his own agenda and a shocking truth concerning Charles' own family that threatens to derail him both personally and professionally. Catapulted into a dangerous personal odyssey to uncover the truth, he's also drawn into a lethal KGB plot to mount an attack within the UK whilst realising betrayal can take many forms when he begins a relationship with the beautiful Romola Garai's character, the wife of another agent.

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