Arts diary: Francesca Martin on John le Carré's hit thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Francesca Martin: John le Carré's hit thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is to hit the big screen

John le Carré's hit thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is to hit the big screen. The author, whose real name is David Cornwall, is at work with the scriptwriter Peter Morgan on a film adaptation of the novel, first published in 1974 as the first instalment in a trilogy about cold war spies. To be produced by Working Title - the production company behind most of the British film industry's biggest hits - it will be the first feature-film version of the novel, which was made into a television series starring Alec Guinness in 1979. According to Morgan - whose other recent credits include the forthcoming films State of Play, Frost/Nixon and The Damned United - le Carré is full of sage advice: "'When you return to earlier work,' he cautioned, 'you feel two rather unpleasant emotions. One is God, this is awful, and the other is how can I ever write something as good ever again?'"

· Email your arts stories to

Francesca Martin

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – review

Director Tomas Alfredson's marvellously chill adaptation of John Le Carré's cold war thriller features a delicate performance from Gary Oldman along with a first-rate supporting cast, writes Xan Brooks

Xan Brooks

05, Sep, 2011 @11:04 AM

Article image
'We agreed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was probably totally impossible to film'

Tomas Alfredson, the Swedish director of Let the Right One In, talks about the 'strange idea' of tackling a John Le Carré adaptation

Xan Brooks

04, Sep, 2011 @7:00 PM

Article image
John le Carré, author of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, dies aged 89
Thriller writer most famous for stories of complex cold war intrigue began his career as a real-life spy in postwar Europe

Richard Lea and Sian Cain

13, Dec, 2020 @10:00 PM

Article image
Gary Oldman tipped as lead recruit for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy film

British actor set to play John Le Carré's cold war hero George Smiley in Tomas Alfredson's film

Ben Child

08, Jun, 2010 @2:49 PM

Article image
Reading group: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy – the film or the TV series?

Sam Jordison: In this month's Reading group, several contributors have called John Le Carré's novel of post-war espionage a 'masterpiece' - and no one's contradicted them. But can the same be said for its two famous adaptations? And which is better?

Sam Jordison

27, Sep, 2012 @7:30 AM

Article image
Reading group: Is Tinker, Tailor really a spy story?
To suggest that Le Carré's novel is not about espionage is pushing it a bit, but there's a lot more going on than shenanigans at the circus

Sam Jordison

17, Sep, 2012 @11:30 AM

Article image
A Delicate Truth by John le Carré – digested read
John Crace reduces the spy novelist's latest thriller, centring around the privatisation of the intelligence services, to a more manageable 600 words

John Crace

28, Apr, 2013 @4:00 PM

Article image
A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré – digested read
John Crace makes some judicious cuts to the master of espionage’s latest confessional

John Crace

17, Sep, 2017 @4:00 PM

Article image
Got 150 hours? Great audiobooks to listen to on lockdown
From Ian McKellen reading Homer to Bill Bryson on the body, these audiobooks can expand your horizons, even when you can’t go out

Steven Poole

25, Mar, 2020 @6:00 AM

Article image
Tinker, tailor, Marxist academic… how Le Carré annoyed Eric Hobsbawm
Marxist intellectual asked author why MI5 man in A Perfect Spy had a name so like his own, new biography reveals

Vanessa Thorpe

06, Jan, 2019 @11:46 AM