Page Eight

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Page Eight
Page Eight DVD cover.jpg
UK DVD cover
Genre Political thriller
Directed by David Hare
Produced by
Screenplay by David Hare
Starring Bill Nighy
Rachel Weisz
Michael Gambon
Ralph Fiennes
Judy Davis
Music by Paul Englishby
Cinematography Martin Ruhe
Editing by Jinx Godfrey
Production company Carnival Films
Runaway Fridge
BBC Films
Heyday Films
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Original channel BBC Two & BBC HD
Release date
  • 28 August 2011 (2011-08-28) (UK)
Running time 103 minutes
Followed by Turks & Caicos
Salting the Battlefield

Page Eight is a 2011 British political thriller, written and directed for the BBC by the British writer David Hare, his first film as director since the 1989 film Strapless.[1] The cast includes Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Michael Gambon, Tom Hughes, Ralph Fiennes, and Judy Davis. The film was followed by Turks & Caicos and Salting the Battlefield, which were broadcast on BBC Two in March 2014. The three films are jointly known as The Worricker Trilogy.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) is a long-serving MI5 officer whose closest friend is also his boss, the Director General of MI5, Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon). Baron distributes a potentially explosive report to Johnny along with Jill Tankard (Judy Davis) and the Home Secretary (Saskia Reeves). In that meeting, Worricker verbally highlights a note at the foot of page eight alleging that the Prime Minister (Ralph Fiennes) has details about the US government torturing prisoners in secret overseas prisons. If true, he did not share intelligence gained from it with the security services even though it might have saved British lives.

At the same time, Johnny begins spending time with his political activist neighbour Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz), born in Syria, whose brother was killed by the Israeli army while holding a white flag. Johnny shares his love of modern art and traditional jazz with her (including explaining the ambiguous relationship between Lester Young and Billie Holiday using a video of The Sound of Jazz) but asks friend and covert intelligence operative Rollo to investigate her. They wonder if she put herself in Johnny's path merely to use his connections.

Benedict Baron dies suddenly of a heart attack at his country home where he lives with his wife (Johnny's ex-wife) and step-daughter (Johnny's daughter, with whom Johnny has a strained relationship). Johnny thinks Baron meant to make the content of the report public. The Prime Minister orders the report to be buried and tells Johnny of his plans to replace MI5 with a US style Homeland Security organisation. The Home Secretary's silence is bought by naming her Deputy Prime Minister.

Johnny sells a painting from his small but valuable art collection to obtain travelling cash. Suspicious of a young man named Ralph whom he met through Nancy and has since seen loitering around the apartment building, Johnny investigates and finds that he is Tankard's own son, funded to monitor Johnny. Tankard, he realises, is secretly working for the Prime Minister's office, running a politicised "cowboy" intelligence operation.

Johnny and Nancy explore their ambiguous relationship. He gives her the secret file on her brother but points out that it would implicate him if she went public with it. He ends up making a deal with Tankard to avoid the reorganisation of the intelligence services and demands the file on Nancy's brother be leaked.

But Johnny has now burned so many bridges that he must retire to obscurity. He gives Nancy one of his valuable paintings (by Christopher Wood). On seeing the leaked report of her brother's murder by the Israelis on the news later, she realises that Johnny arranged it to allow her to pursue a legal case for his wrongful death without implicating Johnny. At the airport, Johnny dumps the original report with the incriminating information about the Prime Minister in a rubbish bin.

At the airport, Johnny looks at the departures screen without giving any clue as to his ultimate destination. This is followed by a shot of Nancy suddenly looking closely at the painting Johnny has given her, a picture of a church by the sea with a warm looking beach.

Main cast[edit]


Parts were filmed in Jesus College, Cambridge, in which undergraduates and Fellows were recruited as extras.[3]


The film had its world premiere on 18 June 2011 at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and closed the 36th Toronto International Film Festival on 17 September 2011.[4] It was broadcast on BBC Two and BBC HD on 28 August 2011 in the United Kingdom, and on PBS in the United States on 6 November 2011, as part of its Masterpiece Contemporary anthology series.[5] It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 5 September 2013 by Universal Pictures.


At the 2011 Satellite Awards, Page Eight was nominated for Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television. Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz were nominated for Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television and Best Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television, respectively.[6]

Bill Nighy received a nomination for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards.[7]

Martin Ruhe, Page Eight's Director of Photography, won Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Motion Picture/Miniseries Television at the 26th American Society of Cinematographers Awards.[8]

Page Eight received a nomination nod for Best TV Movie at the 2012 Rose d’Or TV Festival.[9]

At the 2012 British Academy Television Awards, Page Eight was nominated for the Single Drama Award.[10]

Paul Englishby was nominated for Best Television Soundtrack at the 2012 Ivor Novello Awards.[11]

At the 2012 Critics' Choice Television Awards, Page Eight was nominated for Best Made for TV Movie/Mini Series, while Bill Nighy was nominated for Best Actor.[12]

At the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards, Judy Davis received a nomination nod in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, while Paul Englishby won for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.[13][14]


  1. ^ Child, Ben (5 May 2011). "Edinburgh film festival announces initial lineup". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  2. ^ BBC press release, 3 May 2013: Bill Nighy to reprise his role in The Worricker Trilogy Linked 2014-03-01
  3. ^ Jesuan News, Spring 2011.
  4. ^ Evans, Ian (2011), "Page Eight TIFF premiere photos",, retrieved 29 March 2012 
  5. ^ Young, Bill (19 August 2011). "Page Eight, a PBS Masterpiece, Nov 6". Tellyspotting. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "2012 Winners". International Press Academy. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Golden Globe Awards Nominations: The Complete List". The Hollywood Reporter. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "THE TREE OF LIFE Earns Top Honors from Cinematographers". The American Society of Cinematographers. 13 February 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Life's Too Short up for Rose d'Or award". BBC News. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "Watch Coverage of the Television Awards in 2012". BAFTA Television. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Adele leads nominations for 57th Ivor Novello awards". The Guardian. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (5 June 2012). "Critics’ Choice TV Awards Noms: ‘Community’ At Top Of List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Emmy winners and nominations 2012: The complete list". Los Angeles times. 23 September 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "HBO Leads With 17 Creative Arts Emmys, CBS 13, PBS 11; 'Undercover Boss' Wins Reality Emmy; 'Daily Show' Writers, Jimmy Fallon, Kathy Bates, Jeremy Davies, Martha Plimpton Win Emmys; 'Wizards of Waverly Place' & 'The Penguins of Madagascar'". 15 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 

External links[edit]