Ashenden (TV series)

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Genre Drama
Based on Ashenden: Or the British Agent by W. Somerset Maugham
Written by David Pirie
Directed by Christopher Morahan
Starring Alex Jennings
Joss Ackland
Ian Bannen
Jason Isaacs
Theme music composer Stephen Oliver
Composer(s) Carl Davis
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 4
Executive producer(s) Michael Wearing
Producer(s) Joe Knatchbull
Julian Hope
Cinematography Chris Seager
Editor(s) Dave King
Running time 53 minutes
Production company(s) Kelso Films for BBC
Original network BBC1
Picture format 4:3
Audio format Mono
Original release 17 November (1991-11-17) – 8 December 1991 (1991-12-08)

Ashenden is a BBC1's four part TV series based on the spy novel, Ashenden: Or the British Agent, by W. Somerset Maugham, that aired from 17 November to 8 December 1991, directed by Christopher Morahan, with Alex Jennings in the title role, Joss Ackland as Cumming, Ian Bannen as 'R' and Jason Isaacs as Andrew Lehman. Guest actors included Harriet Walter as Giulia Lazzari in the first episode, Alan Bennett as Grantly Caypor in the second, René Auberjonois as John Quincy Harrington in the third, with Elizabeth McGovern as Aileen Sommerville and Alfred Molina as Carmona, the titular character, in the final story. A framing device at the start of each episode shows progressively more of an aged Ashenden living in France in the mid-1960s, reacting adversely to a piece of music on the radio. The final episode – which gives the context to this section – closes with a return to this "future" setting.



  1. The Dark Woman (17 November 1991)
  2. The Traitor (24 November 1991)
  3. Mr Harrington's Washing (1 December 1991)
  4. The Hairless Mexican (8 December 1991)

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