Magnus Pym, Counsellor at the British Embassy, is hosting a dinner party at his home in Vienna when he receives an unexpected telephone call that will profoundly affect his life. Once the guests have gone, Pym breaks the news to his wife, Mary: his father, Rick, is dead. In a state of shock, he says something Mary cannot understand - 'After all these years, I'm free.' Magnus flies back to England to attend the funeral - and doesn't return. As Mary and MI6 spymaster Jack Brotherhood desperately try to find out his whereabouts, it soon becomes clear that Pym has been keeping secrets from both his family and his employers, the British Intelligence Service. Hiding out in a remote cottage in Devon, where he goes by the name of Mr Canterbury, Magnus begins to write his memoirs - retracing his rise and fall and revealing how Rick led him step by step into a double life of deception, broken promises and betrayal... This recording, adapted from the John le Carré novel by Rene Basilico, was believed lost from the BBC archive, but was rediscovered after almost twenty years and restored.
His death this week marked the end of a career which produced internationally acclaimed novels in every decade from the 1960s onwards. Le Carré’s work was enjoyed by readers and critics alike and adapted multiple times for film and television, making him one of the most celebrated and influential authors of modern times. But where to start if you’re new to this work? Here is our starter for ten.
Alongside Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Shannon, Florence Pugh stars in The Little Drummer Girl, the latest adaptation of John le Carré’s thrilling novel of espionage and betrayal. Here she reads le Carré’s description of the character that she herself plays in the BBC series.