Just how real is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy?


Praised for its’ realistic depiction of 1970’s London at last week’s Venice Film Festival, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, starring Colin Firth, Gary Oldman and Benedict Cumberbatch, might be just a bit closer to reality than most might think. This isn’t James Bond. That’s a good thing. The fact that John Le Carre was part of MI5 and MI6 in the 1950’s and 60’s gives his creation of George Smiley more of an air of authenticity as opposed to the Ian Fleming fantasy world of James Bond. A little undercover spy work from the BBC provides this pretty cool comparison detailing the similarities between real life and ‘reel’ life.

For those in the UK waiting in the queue for tomorrow’s premiere of Tinker Tailor, here’s a a quick primer to get you ready….

  • Moscow Centre – a term for KGB headquarters
  • Legend – a spy’s invented back story, or false biography
  • Babysitter – a bodyguard who keeps an eye on someone, usually in safe house
  • The cousins – the CIA and other US intelligence agencies
  • Mole – a deeply buried spy (FYI, Le Carre borrowed the term from the KGB and popularised it – it has now become common currency in the spy world)
  • Snowy

    Oh fab. Thanks for spoiling the identity of the mole for me. You could at least put a spoiler alert on the article. :/