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The Complete George Smiley Radio Dramas Radio/TV Program

The Complete George Smiley Radio Dramas: BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatisation

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Audible Editor Reviews

"A radio triumph...Simon Russell Beale's pitch-perfect master spy." (Financial Times)

Publisher's Summary

The complete collection of acclaimed BBC Radio dramas based on John le Carré's best-selling novels, starring Simon Russell Beale as George Smiley. With a star cast including Kenneth Cranham, Eleanor Bron, Brian Cox, Ian MacDiarmid, Anna Chancellor, Hugh Bonneville and Lindsay Duncan, these enthralling dramatisations perfectly capture the atmosphere of le Carré's taut, thrilling spy novels. 'Call for the Dead' is the first Smiley novel, which sees him looking into an apparent suicide only to uncover a murderous conspiracy; 'A Murder of Quality' finds Smiley investigating a murder in a private school; 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold' introduces Alec Leamas, a British intelligence officer whose East Berlin network is in tatters; 'The Looking Glass War' features former spy Fred Leiser, lured back from retirement to investigate a claim that Soviet missiles are being installed close to the West German border; 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' is the first book in the Karla trilogy, and sees Smiley searching for a mole who has infiltrated the Circus; 'The Honourable Schoolboy' sees Smiley determined to destroy his nemesis, Karla, and his spy networks; 'Smiley's People' finds George Smiley called out of retirement to exorcise some Cold War ghosts from his clandestine past; and 'The Secret Pilgrim' sees Smiley invited to dine with the eager new recruits at the Circus. He offers them his thoughts on espionage and, in doing so, prompts a former colleague to re-examine his own eventful secret life. Duration: 19 hours.

©2016 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2016 BBC Worldwide Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (947 )
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 24/06/2016 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "BBC radio adaptation at its best"
    Any additional comments?

    The BBC does great radio adaptations of well known novels and this ranks alongside The Lord of the Rings, War and Peace and Asimov's Foundation Trilogy as one of the best.
    A good introduction to the Smiley series for those new to Le Carre and tasty comfort food for fans like myself who know his books well.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    clivep 20/06/2016
    clivep 20/06/2016 Member Since 2014
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    "brilliant"

    I stumbled across this presentation after listening to 2 Le Carre novels and must say that it was enthralling. So good was the acting that at times it stopped me from working just so that I could finish a story. I will look out for more in this format

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chill 29/06/2016
    Chill 29/06/2016
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    "Excellent series"

    This collection is well presented and enjoyable to listen to. The series takes George Smiley through the latter part of his Circus career and beyond, often he is not the mainstay but remains in the background as the master puppeteer.
    The condensing of the books has been done well, it is not necessary to have read the books in order to follow the plot.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. E. A. Shanks Peebles, Scotland 21/07/2016
    Mr. E. A. Shanks Peebles, Scotland 21/07/2016 Member Since 2017
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    "BBC brings Smiley to life"

    The cast of these radio plays bring the world of George Smiley to life. Right from the first moment you will be hooked.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geoff 24/01/2017
    Geoff 24/01/2017 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent."

    Masterfully told coak and dagger stories of Cold War espionage. Convincingly performed and well produced.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DT teachet 01/08/2016
    DT teachet 01/08/2016 Member Since 2015
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    "very good"

    loved it very good escapism alot of food for thought, would recommend it to all

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin Lapper 04/07/2016
    Robin Lapper 04/07/2016 Member Since 2016
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    "Seminal"

    A compendium of the rather marvellous and understated spys adventures vaucluse brought to life by Simon Russell Beale and the BBC. All the acting is great. Couldn't be happier with it.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CrisH United Kingdom 07/03/2017
    CrisH United Kingdom 07/03/2017 Member Since 2014
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    "A satisfying marathon listen"

    Once I started this compendium radio drama I couldn't stop. It took the best part of two weeks to finish but it was well worth it.
    All of the novels about George Smiley are here faithfully dramatised by Simon Russell Beale and a fantastic supporting cast.
    It took me a while to get the image of Alex Guinness out of my mind but Simon is a worthy successor to the role and gave a suspenseful and subtle performance.
    My favourite was episode was The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, but all of the stories were involving.
    John Le Carre is a masterful writer in the spy genre and these productions from the BBC bring the stories to life.
    Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Smask Crewe, Cheshire United Kingdom 25/12/2016
    Smask Crewe, Cheshire United Kingdom 25/12/2016 Member Since 2016
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    "Wonderful leCarre"
    Would you listen to The Complete George Smiley Radio Dramas again? Why?

    Have already listened to it more than once. Superb quality and excellent writer.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    George Smiley always


    Have you listened to any of Simon Russell Beale’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Always quality


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Searle Gibraltar 01/08/2016
    D. Searle Gibraltar 01/08/2016 Member Since 2014
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    "Best audiobook for some time!"

    Clear speaking voices; heard and understood every word; storylines were perfectly dramatised and paced, allowing total immersion.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • RB Vancouver
    07/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "good reading but can't navigate"

    You get several novels dramatized over 18 hours, in two massive files. It's impossible to pick one of the novels and listen to it separately. You just have to start at the beginning with Call For the Dead and keep going. The second file starts part way through Smiley's People, so there's no point starting there. God help you if you lose your place and have to find it again in one or the other of these two huge files. That's not quite what I expected from Audible. I like to be able to navigate readily within an audiobook. Audible should've divided this up so that each dramatization is a separate audio file. The production quality is quite decent, a bit hammed up in places, but then many English people do talk that way; also, I don't know that the reader doing Smiley has quite the right accent for a man of his age and social station.

    36 of 37 people found this review helpful
  • Anonymous
    california
    22/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "had to come back to this"
    What did you love best about The Complete George Smiley Radio Dramas?

    I love the repeatability of this performance. I own about 80 audio books here at audible and a lot more that I've collected over the years and I've listened to this one over and over and over again. Excellent work.


    What other book might you compare The Complete George Smiley Radio Dramas to and why?

    Possibly the Sherlock Holmes dramatizations but I've still listened to this one more often.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    There were unexpected moments when it made me laugh. The accents are very well done and quite a few characters are real ... well characters.

    Extreme reactions? I could do with a whiskey. I'm also a bit more partial to frogs.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Joshua
    02/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Superbly done."

    Mr Beale as Smiley is perfect. From his breathing to his temperament. Exciting and engaging. The time flew by.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    03/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I don't know how you beat this for value"
    Where does The Complete George Smiley Radio Dramas rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I mean, all the Smiley stories in one purchase with incredible BBC performances. Say no more. Say yes. These got me going back and listening to the full length books and watching the movies as well.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • D. Edgren
    01/06/17
    Overall
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    "Outstanding Radio Plays!"

    While the large cast of characters in John LeCarre's various George Smiley-centered novels can make getting into them a challenge, once you have done that just about all of them, even the baddies, will seem like old friends. I think for those who have not read at least Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy the eight radio plays that are presented here will seem frustrating at first, but even that will pass with time and careful listening. For those thoroughly familiar with Smiley's world, the plays are pure pleasure. You hardly notice the abridgment, and the voicing of each character is spot on. There is some additional dialogue added, mainly as exposition when it is needed, but I believe John Le Carre would wholeheartedly approve- his author's voice is in no way diminished by the additions. I think that these are essential listening, and will only add new fans to this great body of work.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Clendon
    Buda, TX, United States
    05/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not as good as the books"

    The problem with the BBC radio plays is that the main character, George Smiley, is a subtle introvert. There are scenes where George does nothing but sit there and wait in the novels. How do you do that on radio? The BBC didn't figure it out.

    Some of the best bits from the novel were cut out, either for brevity, or because they were nuanced. One of the best bits of dialogue in "The Looking Glass War", where leCarre actually shows you how to convince someone else to do what you want as if it is there idea, was cut.

    The audio books are also available on Audible. I have listened to both and recommend the books.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • brian
    cincinnati, OH, United States
    02/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Some of John's best works brought to life"
    Where does The Complete George Smiley Radio Dramas rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of my current favorites, and, one I'll keep in my audible library.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    George, because of his storylines, along with Connie due to her knowledge


    Which character – as performed by Simon Russell Beale – was your favorite?

    George, among others.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I can't think of one, plus, several of these books ahve been adapted as films already.


    Any additional comments?

    A must-have for fans of John Le Carre, and spy fiction in general, I believe.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Patita Patita
    Missouri, USA
    30/12/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Antiquated. "

    Should have bought the book on tape instead of the radio drama. Not my cup of tea.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anonymous
    15/12/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful"

    Great performances and great stories, all. Once I finished, I wanted to start all over again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • kathy
    13/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    " Le Carre the Great"

    I have been following John LeCarre for decades as he has taken me through his great literary works. He is such a master at human character and so embacive of human nature, and skillfully communicates about these characteristics: how a professional, or someone who should be a professional and isn't quite, or a lay person caught up in less that survival circumstances, and you name it; how mankind acts and reacts together in situations where necessity level is very real and is the main element to get one through that situation. These things and more were there for me in this set and it compelled me to listen, learn and love. the narration and full cast dramatization of these writings was a complete treat and such an augmentation to already incredible work very well done by JLC!

    “AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY”

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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