Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

London boys and spies ...

LONDON SPY is a new BBC series (5 parts - the first aired last night) about spies in London, and the selling point is they are all gay - even Jim Broadbent as our hero Danny's sort of sugar-daddy. There has been a lot of buzz about this one, and it may be too early to review it yet, lets see how the drama unfolds, as last night's opener had a terrific first half hour, and then a baffling, oblique second half, with a brooding sense of dread. Just who led Danny to the keys to Alex's apartment, the keys he was led to in that creepy warehouse where he works, and then that weird sequence as he finds the secrets in the loft of Alex's apartment .... It is all very similar to the 'body in the bag' case which was a sensation here in the UK in recent years, that also dealt with spies and possibly gays.

LONDON SPY is the story of a chance romance between two people from very different worlds, one from the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, the other from a world of clubbing and youthful excess. Whishaw plays Danny – gregarious, hedonistic, romantic and adrift, who falls for the anti-social enigmatic and brilliant Alex, played by Edward Holcroft. Just as the two of them realise that they’re perfect for each other, Alex is found dead. Danny, utterly ill-equipped to take on the complex and codified world of British espionage, must decide whether he’s prepared to fight for the truth.

LONDON SPY has attracted a top notch cast: Ben Whishaw plays Danny, a lonely hedonist who bumps into a handsome jogger the morning after another night in clubland, and experiences something of a coup de foudre. (I too remember those Vauxhall dawns as one, sometimes worse for wear, left the clubs and made one's way along the river back to Victoria - good to see the London one knows depicted accurately).The series is billed as an espionage thriller, but most of this first episode is about the unfolding, in heartbreakingly slow and tender fashion, of their love story. Alex is a mystery man, he says he works for an investment bank and his parents are dead and he has never had a relationhip of any kind before ... for a while the two are blissfully happy but then Alex suddenly disappears and when someone mysteriously furnishes him with the keys to Alex’s flat Danny finds in the loft an array of S&M equipment, a laptop and a trunk, the last of which contains a dead body which may or may not be Alex. He smuggles a key hidden in the laptop out after calling the police (by swallowing it, cue scene at toilet ...) who discover that Alex is not Alex but a man called Alistair whose parents are definitely not dead and who is definitely not an investment banker.

The modern gay scene is nicely depicted without sensationalism, and it will be interesting to see where the story goes, particuarly as Charlotte Rampling turns up in the next episode, along with Harriet Walter, Adrian Lester, Mark Gatiss and James Fox, and the ever-terrific Broadbent. This could be a slow-burn thriller, like the hit BROADCHURCH, but with extra gay added. Written by Tom Rob Smith and directed by Jakob Verbruggen (THE FALL). Could this be a British HOMELAND? We will see ... 
We did see - and what a load of, baffling, pretentious piffle, crawling at a snail's pace. what did the cast see in it?

Here is the trailer:  


  1. Very well written but it would need to pick up after a disappointing episode two. The acting and the script are fine but it's unnecessarily slow and oblique. Hardly a British HOMELAND and nowhere near as good as THE FALL. As you don't seem to be a Bond fan you are missing out on some wonderful work from Ben as Q.

  2. Ben, like Broadbent, seems to be in everything these days. I have to catch the recent Bonds. Did you ever get around to PADDINGTON where Ben voices the bear and yes Jim is in it too and Hugh Bonneville is deliriously funny in drag.

    1. Still to see PADDINGTON though I can see it for free on Amazon Prime.