Traitor (TV drama)

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Traitor
Written by Dennis Potter
Directed by Alan Bridges
Starring John Le Mesurier
Country of origin UK
Original language(s) English
Production
Producer(s) Graeme MacDonald
Running time 60 mins
Broadcast
Original channel BBC 1
Original airing 14 October 1971

Traitor is a BBC television drama written by Dennis Potter and directed by Alan Bridges, which featured in the Play for Today series on 14 October 1971. It stars John Le Mesurier as Adrian Harris, a character loosely based on Kim Philby. Le Mesurier's performance won him the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor in 1972.[1]

Plot[edit]

Western journalists visit Moscow to interview Adrian Harris, a former controller in British intelligence who was also a double agent for the USSR. Harris believes in both Communism and Englishness, believing himself to have betrayed his class, but not his country. The press find these beliefs incompatible, and want to find out why he became a ‘traitor’. Harris is plagued by anxieties over both his actions and his upper-class childhood, and drinks to a state of collapse.[2]

Reception[edit]

Better known for comedic roles, Le Mesurier's casting was a brave move, one which initially concerned the actor who "was very, very scared" that "he wouldn’t be able to pull it off".[2] Le Mesurier would later call the role 'the best part I ever had on TV'.[1] While reviews of the play were mixed, critics were unanimous in their praise for Le Mesurier and he won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor in 1972.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Angelini, Sergio (2013). "Traitor (1971)". screenonline.org.uk. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Rolinson, David (4 November 2010). "Traitor (1971)". britishtelevisiondrama.org.uk. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 

External links[edit]