Smiley's People (miniseries)

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Smiley’s People
DVD cover for the series
Based on Smiley's People
by John le Carré
Written by John Hopkins
Screenplay by John le Carré
Directed by Simon Langton
Starring Alec Guinness
Michael Byrne
Anthony Bate
Bernard Hepton
Theme music composer Patrick Gowers
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 6
Producer(s) Jonathan Powell
Cinematography Kenneth MacMillan
Editor(s) Chris Wimble
Clare Douglas
Running time 360 min (UK)
Distributor BBC Worldwide
Original network BBC2
Picture format 4:3
Audio format Mono
Original release 20 September (1982-09-20) – 25 October 1982 (1982-10-25)
Preceded by Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Smiley’s People was a 1982 drama miniseries in six parts, made for the BBC. Directed by Simon Langton, produced by Jonathan Powell, it is the television adaptation of the 1979 spy novel Smiley's People by John le Carré. Starring Alec Guinness, Michael Byrne, Anthony Bate and Bernard Hepton, it was first shown in the United Kingdom from 20 September to 22 October 1982, and in the United States beginning on 25 October 1982.


George Smiley is called out of retirement when one of his former assets, an émigré general, is found murdered. In tidying up loose ends for the "Circus", his former employer, he discovers a clandestine operation run by his nemesis, Karla, for his own personal benefit. Smiley is able to use this irregularity against Karla, forcing him to defect to the West.



In 1983 Smiley's People won four BAFTA awards, including Best Actor (for Alec Guinness) and Best Actress (for Beryl Reid), and was nominated for six others. The series also won a Peabody Award. In 2010, The Guardian ranked the series at number 17 in their list of "The Top 50 TV Dramas of All Time".[1]


  1. ^ "The top 50 TV dramas of all time", The Guardian, 12 January 2010. Retrieved 2016-01-14.

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