Category Archives: Radio

TV & Radio Crime Log: Driver, Julie

The DriverJust the one new drama for you to get stuck into, telly-wise. The Driver stars David Morrissey as a bloke who accepts a job offer from a local gangster called The Horse. Nagged him into it, probably.

The blurb doesn’t stop for red lights:

Taxi driver Vince McKee finds his life taking an unexpected turn when he accepts an offer to drive for a criminal gang. It’s been engineered by his old friend Colin), who has resurfaced after a six-year stretch in prison.

The Driver is the story of an ordinary man who – out of frustration with his job and his life – makes a terrible decision. Ever since their son Tim cut ties with the family, Vince and his wife Ros have drifted apart. They blame themselves for his departure and have become accustomed to living separate lives.

The offer of becoming a driver for gang leader The Horse at first seems like an exciting proposition to Vince, but as the gang prepare for a major job he soon starts to wish he could have his old life back.

There’s a great cast in there – David Morrissey, Ian Hart and Colm Meaney – and a muscular, if familiar, title. I imagine this drama, written by Danny Brocklehurst, is more Drive, by way of Jimmy McGovern, than Fast And Furious.

The first of The Driver’s first three episodes is on at 9pm tomorrow night – Tuesday – on BBC1.

There’s more drama, of the audio variety in Julie, the Afternoon Drama on BBC Radio 4 at 2.15pm on Friday.

It’s based on the true story of Operation Julie, the biggest drugs bust in British history.

The blurb never leaves home without an Alsation:

In the 1970s a large proportion of the world’s LSD supply was coming from the wilds of West Wales. Based on true events, this is the story of how one idealistic chemist – Richard Kemp – sought to change the world. And how one determined detective – Dick Lee – set out to stop him.

In 1977 the Operation Julie police team retrieved 18 million microdots of LSD from one small cottage in Tregaron, West Wales. The street value of the haul was more than £65 million. But this was no ordinary drugs ring. – it grew out of the exploits of a handful of idealistic hippies, motivated by a genuine desire to open people’s minds.

Julie is written by Enders and Casualty stalwart Rob Gittins.

That, as they say, is your lot.

TV & Radio Crime Log: Banshee, Blood, Farran

Come with me into the lower depths of your EPG. Follow me. We’re looking for crimey morsels. Keep pressing that down button and you’ll find…

BansheeBanshee starts its second season tonight on Sky Atlantic.

Banshee, you say, never heard of it!

Well, that’s what we’re here for, you see. It’s a quirky little small town noir in which a thief takes on the identity of a Pennsylvanian town’s Sheriff. Lucas Hood is on the run from the ruthless Ukrainian gangster he stole from many years back. There he bumps into an old flame and makes lots of new enemies. Cue lots of gleeful fisticuffs and bone-crunching violence.

It’s a bugnuts show which is – yes – in its second series. It has some expertly choreographed fight scenes – which can apparently take a whole day to film – and, as long as you let your braincells glow at a lower wattage than the little red light on your remote, it’s a lot of fun.

The first episode of the new season begins at the pointedly awkward time of 10.10pm tonight.

True BloodBanshee – it’s the name of the town if you’re scratching your head – is executive produced by Alan Ball, who was the showrunner of the early seasons of True Blood.

A few years ago True Blood’s steamy combination of nudge nudge horror and ladies in Daisy Dukes – and little else – was quite the thing, but I think it’s safe to say that the show’s best days are long behind it. The completists among you may decide that there’s little point in bailing after all these years. I understand that the first episode features the apparent death of a major character, for those of you who are tempted.

True Blood is on tonight on Fox at 9pm.

If you find the thought of all that nudity and violence inappropriate, and television somewhat beneath you, you may prefer perhaps to listen to the radio. I’m guessing BBC Radio 4 is your thing, madam, rather than Talksport. Let’s see what we can find for you there.

Ah, yes. Thursday’s Afternoon Drama is Farran At Bay – written by Hugh Costello – which is a thriller based upon a scandal that blighted the final days of Britain’s 30-year control of the Holy Land.

Here’s the blurb:

Jerusalem 1947. A Jewish teenager is spotted handing out anti-British propaganda. Witnesses report him being bundled into a car by armed men speaking English. He is never seen again.

Within hours, a senior British police officer, a decorated war hero and SAS pioneer have stolen a car and driven across the Syrian frontier. The disappearance of Alexander Rubowitz and the flight of Major Roy Farran is soon being reported in the Jewish and American press. Britain’s precarious post-war control of Palestine depends upon Inspector Bellamy’s investigation into the case. But how can he achieve justice for young Alexander without threatening the Empire?

That’s on Thursday at 2.15pm. I return you to your life, with my very best wishes.

Radio Crime Log: Missing, Simenon

BBC Radio 4Not much on the box this week. However, those of you who own a radio  – and I sincerely hope that means all of you – should be alerted to a couple of crimey things with dramatic potential.

Missing In Action is BBC Radio 4’s Afternoon Drama, on Thursday at 2.15pm. Sadly, it’s not an adaptation of Chuck Norris’s action franchise – my god, I’d listen to that – but a drama about a woman who believes she sees her lost soldier husband in a supermarket.

The blurb will now tell you much the same thing, but using more words:

Natalie’s husband was listed in Helmand as Missing In Action. Then one day, she spots him in a supermarket. But is this man really him? Her belief is so overpowering, that the man himself begins to wonder if she might be right. Or perhaps he wants her to be?

It’s Clare Lizzimore’s first play for radio.

Not so long ago I believe we mentioned the superhuman writing output of Georges Simenon. To find out how many novels the Maigret author unleashed on the world – and I know you have an insatiable curiosity about these things – you just have to click here.

On Friday, at 2.15pm, Radio 4 begins the first of three adaptations of some of his psychological thrillers under the banner of The Other Simenon. 

The blurb doesn’t know when to stop:

In A New Lease Of Life, Maurice Dudon, a reclusive bachelor who works as an accountant with no emotional or private life except for furtive and ritualistic visits to a prostitute every Friday, finds his life changing after he is seriously injured in a car accident. In a private nursing home he forms a growing relationship with a nurse, but is it all fate or is his life being manipulated?

The Chuck Norris for Radio 4 Campaign starts here. Who’s with me?

Radio & Event Crime Log: Hove, Payment

Hove Book Festival

That Saharan sand is blowing across the country right now, making itself very unwelcome inside your lungs. One way to ensure you get some fresh air is to get yourself to the seaside.

It just so happens that the good people of Hove have started their own own book festival, which takes place this weekend. As part of the festival – which features talks on how to get published and write for TV, and all sorts – they’ve invited Elly Griffiths to discuss how to write bestselling crime series.

If you’re hanging around this blog, it sounds like something you’d possibly like to know. Elly is, of course, the creator of a series of bestelling books about crime-fighting archaeologist Ruth Galloway, so she knows what she’s talking about.

Elly Griffiths

Photo: Jerry Bauer

The latest Ruth Galloway book, the sixth, is called The Outcast Dead. It’s about Ruth’s investigation of a Victorian murderer, and offers another piece in the jigsaw of the complex leading character. Elly’s Ruth Galloway series of book is currently in development with the BBC. And I do believe we’ll be reviewing The Outcast Dead here soon.

So, anyway, Elly will be discussing how she created the character of Ruth Galloway and subsequently developed the books — and about how you can do the same.

The How To Write A Bestselling Series With Elly Griffiths session starts at 1pm on Saturday at the Hove Centre. The £4 ticket sounds a right bargain.

And if, by any chance, you see that miserable wretch George Harvey Bone aimlessly wandering the landscape, do send him home. His cat is very lonely.

I understand that the overwhelming majority of you, living hither and thither, will possibly not be able to make that event on the south coast. Don’t beat yourself up about it. It just so happens that BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting a new series that afternoon that may be of some interest to you.

As a novelist, CS Forester is famous for the Horatio Hornblower series, his rumbustious novels of naval conflict. But early in his career, Cecil Scott wrote three psychological crime novels that were quietly ground-breaking.

We mentioned George Harvey Bone earlier. Forester’s crime novels, known as his London Noir trilogy, were similar to Patrick Hamilton’s work in that they focused on submerged suburban lives in which small, weak people commit desperate acts.

Now BBC Radio 4 is dramatising the three of them on subsequent Saturday afternoons. The first, Payment Deferred, is this week at 2.30pm on BBC Radio 4.

Originally published in 1926, it’s about a bank clerk living in south London with his wife and two children, who’s desperately worried about money and is in grave danger of losing his house and job. An unexpected visit by a young relative with an inheritance tempts him to commit a heinous crime.

Payment Deferred is followed by Plain Murder, written in 1930, and The Pursued. That last book was written in 1935, but then the manuscript was lost for over 70 years!

TV & Radio Crime Log: Detective, Lady

UnknownA lot of shows this year have promised plenty but conspicuously failed to deliver – yes, I’m looking at you, Mob City – but hopefully True Detective will live up to the critical acclaim that follows it to these shores.

It’s an anthology show – along the lines of American Horror Story – which is intended to tell a different story each season, using completely different characters.

The first season stars the ubiquitous Matthew McConaughey, and the ubiquitous Woody Harrelson, and it’s being trailed very heavily indeed, perhaps because of those stellar reviews in the States.

Here’s the blurb y’all:

Martin Hart and “Rust” Cohle are two detectives and former partners who worked in Louisiana’s Criminal Investigation Division in the mid-1990s. In 2012, for reasons not immediately revealed, the two are interviewed separately by investigators about their most notorious case: the macabre 1995 murder of a prostitute by a possible serial killer with disturbing occult leanings. As they look back on the case, Hart and Cohle’s personal backstories and often-strained relationship come to the fore.

Hart, an outgoing native Louisianan and family man whose marriage is being frayed by work stress and infidelity, is (at least on the surface) the polar opposite of Cohle, a lone-wolf pessimist and former narcotics detective from Texas. But their shared obsession to hunt down the ritual killer reveals the mercurial nature of Hart and Cohle’s relationship and personalities, and how they affect each other as detectives, friends, and men.

True Detective is kinda slow, apparently, and big on atmosphere, perhaps because it’s the brainchild of a novelist, Nic Pizzolatto. It’s unusual for a writer with no former television experience to write every episode and act as showrunner on a HBO series, so it’ll be interesting to discover what it is that’s got everybody raving.

You can find out for yourself what the fuss is about by watching the first episode on Sky Atlantic on Saturday night, at 9pm.

There’s more hard boiled detective fayre on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday afternoon. Radio 4 is dramatizing every single one of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels, including the little-regarded final book, Poodle Springs – I would imagine every saxophonist in London got a little frisson of anticipation when they heard the news. We’ve already missed The Big Sleep – sorry about that – but the second, The Lady In The Lake, starts at 2.30pm.

Toby Stephens stars – he’s good, isn’t he, and he has the right jaw for Marlowe. There’s no photo, I’m afraid. I was hoping BBC Picture Publicity might put Stephens in a trenchcoat and a fedora – as is often the way – and take him out the emergency exit to snap him looking charming by some bins and a drainpipe, but sadly it wasn’t to be.

However, if Marlowe and Chandler are your thing you may want to take a gander here to get you in the mood.

Crime News: Horror, Polish, Dagger

Ask anyone to name a British horror production company and they’re going to say Hammer, right? But for nearly 20 years there was another company on the block, Amicus. Whereas Hammer excelled in its period horror, Amicus specialised in producing contemporary portmanteau movies, short scary stories bundled onto the same film reel, mainly because they were cheaper.

At 11.30am on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday – tomorrow – film historian Matthew Sweet presents one of his terrific screen documentaries, Houses of Horror, which looks at the creative rivalry between the two film companies during the Sixties and Seventies.

It’s curious how the blurb never appears in daylight:

It’s almost a given that the story of British horror movies belongs to Hammer films. The studio, with its lurid combination of sex and death, lashings of blood and gore, has given it a special stake in British hearts. It made over 200 films, such as Dracula and Curse Of Frankenstein with a recurring, legendary cast, including Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and its 2007 revival drew heavily on past mystique.

Hammer was the most successful British film company of all time but, throughout its heyday in the 60s and 70s, it did battle with a much smaller, poorer, creative, upstart rival – Amicus films. Amicus was a small British horror studio that pioneered the much loved ‘portmanteau’ picture, such as Tales Of The Crypt and Vault Of Horror – each movie a composite of four or five short stories, whose connection is revealed at the end.

Matthew explores the productive rivalry between the two contenders for the heart and soul of British horror, in a blood-curdling tale of low-budget, gore-spattered one-upmanship that’s full of chilling atmosphere and fun.

If you’re down London way on Thursday – yes, tomorrow – there’s a Polish Crime Night at Belgravia Books. Novelists William Brodrick, Mariusz Czubaj, Anya Lipska, and Joanna Jodełka will chat energetically about Polish crime fiction, which is becoming an increasingly popular territory for readers looking for the next big thing in the genre.

The session is chaired by journalist Rosie Goldsmith at Belgravia Books in Ebury Street, Victoria. The event at 7pm is free, but you have to rsvp, so remember to let them know you’re coming.

Some of you may not be able to attend that fine event because you’ll be busy making some last minute adjustments to your Debut Dagger entry. Every year the Crime Writers’ Association encourages unpublished authors with the award, the winner of which is announced at it annual awards dinner in the spring.

The deadline for this year’s competition is this Friday, the 31st. that’s one, no, two days away! Submissions must include the first 3,000 words – or fewer – of your novel, and a synopsis of the rest. The entry fee is £25. All the shortlisted authors will receive a professional assessment of their entries. You can get all the details right here. If your manuscript is sitting in front of you, waiting to transmit its awesomeness to the world, I bid you good luck.

TV & Radio Crime Log: Following, Demon

UnknownThe adventures of hapless FBI agent Ryan Hardy and his efforts to being to justice serial killer Joe Carroll and his bickering cult of bloodthirsty followers proved one of the most diverting telly series of last year.

True, it was mad as a bagful of pills from the Silly Shop, but The Following always delivered bloodthirsty hijinks. Week after week, Carroll would run rings around Hardy, played with grim earnestness by Kevin Bacon. As portrayed by whispering Brit James Purefoy, Carroll was that most dangerous of creatures – a failed novelist. You really do no cross people like that.

Every drop of melodrama was twisted from the central, admittedly uneasy conceit in the first series –- and I for one will be back for more, with the second series due to start. Carroll is apparently dead. Everybody thinks so, but Hardy is not so sure. I’m with Hardy on that one.

You can watch Hardy get his arse kicked for another fifteen episodes – if his heart pacemaker holds out, of course – on Sky Atlantic, starting tomorrow night at 9pm.

Creepy twins always provide fertile material for writers, particularly when they swap lives – which is just wrong. Matthew Broughton’s BBC Radio 4 drama Demon Brother is told in two parts,  on Wednesday at 2.15pm and on Thursday, each episode told from the point of view of each brother.

It’s uncanny how the blurb has the same haircut as you:

When Jasper finds his father dead, a dark mystery begins to unfold. His dad kept a secret – Jasper has a twin brother, Eddie, whom he’s never met. After the funeral, the two brothers decide to swap lives. As Jasper escapes the confines of his faltering marriage and attempts to track down his father’s killer, he soon discovers that with his new found freedom comes the threat of extreme danger.

There you go, TV and radio entertainment for you. One for the eyes, one for the ears.

Movie & Radio Crime Log: Hemingway, Counsellor & Air-Force

What are you doing this weekend — keeping warm, you say? Good, good. If Norse Gods and Sandra Bullock in the cold, vast bleakness of space doesn’t appeal, here’s a couple of crime thriller movies you may want to see instead.

Or not. Entirely your choice.

Jude Law stars as the eponymous Dom Hemingway in a caper movie – they really don’t make enough caper movies, these days – about a safe-cracker who comes out of prison to, yes, get what’s owed to him.

The reviews suggest it’s a bawdy, naughty, shouty little thing so you may not want to go see it with your dear old Mum. Law, sporting a fine handlebar moustache and dropping his ‘aitches, drank ten cans of coke a day to put on weight for it, apparently. Richard E Grant plays his sidekick Dickie.

The writer and director Richard Shepard was responsible for The Matador, easily Pierce Brosnan’s best non-Bond movie, so he’s got form for subverting our expectations of actors.

If that sounds like your cup of tea, let’s move on to the trailer.

The Counsellor may be worth seeing just for the curiousity value. It’s one of those movies that has polarized opinion. Some US critics thought it was dreadful while others likened it to the work of Mamet, Pinter and Tarantino.

The talent is impeccable, at least. The screenplay is the first by the novelist Cormac McCarthy – you know, No Country For Old Men and The Road – and he apparently makes little concession to the rules of screenplay writing.

The director is Ridley Scott and the cast includes Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz and Javier Bardem. Fassbender is a lawyer who gets involved in drug trafficking. As you may suspect from McCarthy’s involvement, The Counsellor — sorry, American friends, The Counselor – is not a barrel of laughs. Scott has described it as his first arthouse film. Audiences have accordingly stayed away.

Still, here’s the trailer:

I’d imagine much of the week’s media coverage is going to be dedicated to the big events of 1963. It’s all going to be Doctor Who this and JFK that.

They’re already ramping up. Air-Force One is a thriller about the events immediately after the assassination of Kennedy on 22 November, 1963.

Martin Jarvis – ah, we love Martin, don’t we? – directs the play on BBC Radio 4 tomorrow afternoon about the surprising events that occurred at the mortuary, and on Air-Force One, when Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson insisted that his ‘swearing in’ took place before take-off.

Kennedy’s widow Jackie was there, apparently, still covered in her husband’s blood. There doesn’t seem very much more that can by hypothesized about the assassination 50 years on, but this sounds a claustrophobic little thriller, based on Federal, classified and academic research, diaries and recollections.

Stacy Keach – Mike Hammer! – stars as Lyndon B. Johnson. That’s BBC Radio 4 tomorrow afternoon at 2.30pm.

No, of course there isn’t a trailer –  it’s radio. Do pay attention.

TV & Radio Crime Log: Corrupted, Poirot, Boardwalk

We like period drama – people in hats and stiff collars committing and solving crime – and there’s plenty of it about this week. Just for a change, we’re going to start with some radio, because that’s the way we roll around here.

b03dyg3wGF Newman is an incredibly prolific writer, who has written for TV – the serial Law And Order, Judge John Deed and New Street Law, among them – as well as novels, and radio and theatre plays and serials.

His latest drama series, The Corrupted, for BBC Radio 4 is based on the characters from his epic crime novel, Crime And Punishment, about the  rise of a London crime family in post-war Britain.

In the first episode, the year is 1951 and, as London celebrates The Festival of Britain, a young boy witnesses a murder that will scar him for life and have lasting consequences that affect his whole family.

The Corrupted is broadcast from Monday to Friday for the next two weeks at 2.15pm on BBC Radio 4, and stars Toby Jones – we like him – and features Ross ‘Grant’ Kemp as the narrator. That’s the cast in that picture. They’re not dressed up in period costume because it’s, like, radio.

Can you adam and eve it, the first episodes of ITV’s adaptions of Agatha POIROT_THE_BIG_FOURChristie’s Poirot stories and novels were broadcast way back in 1989. That’s, er, that’s, er – bear with me – that’s 24 years ago now!

This week ITV transmits the first of the final four adaptions, culminating in Christie’s controversial finale, Curtain, early next year. With the completion of the 66-episodes early next year, every literary work by Christie featuring Hercule Poirot will have been adapted. Along the way, David Suchet has made the part of the irrepressible little Belgian absolutely his own for all eternity. Yes, that long.

Set against the backdrop of the impending World War II, the first film, The Big Four, plunges Poirot into the world of global espionage.

Exercise your little grey cells on this blurb:

In an effort to demonstrate international unity, the Peace Party hosts a grand reception, which re-unites Poirot with his good friend Japp, now Assistant Commissioner of the Met. The illustrious crowd also includes English diplomat Stephen Paynter, and the French scientist and Peace Party stalwart, Madame Olivier. The American tycoon, and hearty backer of the Party, Abe Ryland, fronts the event, which climaxes in an exciting game of chess, where he takes on the reclusive Russian Grandmaster, Dr Ivan Savaranoff Poirot and Japp decide to pool resources following a series of murders.

Poirot realises that each of these crimes is so dramatic and expertly stage-managed as to be almost theatrical… and the murderer must indeed be a master of disguise in order to pull off such varied and ingenious plans.  Through a scrapbook found at Whalley’s house, he tracks down failing actress Flossie Monro, whom he believes may unwittingly be at the root of all this bloodshed.  However, before he can pursue his theories, Poirot himself is also killed! Or is he?

The Big Four is on ITV on Wednesday night at 8pm.

We’ve discussed, have we not, Hercule before? Here’s some information about Christie and her somewhat vexing relationship with the little man, in order to get you in the mood.

Boardwalk-Empire-S04-Keyart-16x9-1A more gritty evocation of life between the wars is Boardwalk Empire, which begins its fourth series on Sky Atlantic on Saturday night.

The show took a season or two to find its feet, I’d say, but it’s motoring along now. It’s a sumptuous evocation of the Prohibition era in Atlantic City with some terrific gangster characters, both real and imagined.

Atlantic City, February 1924: After barely surviving an overthrow by gangster Gyp Rossetti, Nucky Thompson is laying low at the end of the Boardwalk. But the calm will be short-lived, as Nucky faces new challenges, including a clash with the mayor, a battle with his brother Eli over Eli’s college-age son, and the irresistible lure of lucrative and perilous opportunities in Florida.

Nucky makes a peace offering to Joe Masseria while working the odds with Arnold Rothstein. While Chalky is busy running the Onyx Club on the Boardwalk, the impulsive Dunn Purnsley clashes with a booking agent. Gillian seeks custody of her grandson while trying to find a ‘good’ man to keep the Artemis Club afloat. Al Capone enlists his brothers to help him expand his business in the Chicago suburb of Cicero, while Richard Harrow returns to his violent ways.

The series is based on a real-life racketeer called Enock ‘Nucky’ Johnson, who controlled Atlantic City, and who lived till 1968. But creator Terence Winters – another of those talented writers who cut their teeth on The Sopranos – admits that the character, played by Steve Buscemi, is very much a fictionalized version.

If you haven’t seen it, you really should. It can be occasionally slow, carefully building character, but any series with Buscemi, Michael Shannon, Michael Kenneth Williams, Kelly McDonald and Stephen Graham – as Al Capone, no less – needs to be watched. It’s a classy box-set splurge of a show, so it is.

Now go forth and program your devices.

Crime Log: The Fall, A Delicate Truth

There’s a couple of things on this week that will stimulate at least a couple of your five senses.

Unknown-2Gillian Anderson, her in the blouse, returns to television tonight in The Fall. She stars as DSI Stella Gibson in the first part of a new investigative thriller. Behold the blurb:

When a murder in Belfast remains unsolved, Gibson is brought in from the London Metropolitan Police to help catch the killer.

As Gibson travels across from London, we are introduced to the murderer himself: Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan). Spector’s dark fascination with a young solicitor Sarah Kay (Laura Donnelly) is in stark contrast to his home life, where he has two young children and a wife who loves him

As Gibson looks in to the investigation, she finds similarities to a case from 18 months ago. Believing them to be the work of one man, she’s convinced there is a serial killer lose in Belfast but her superiors at the police are unwilling to make the connection.

Meanwhile, that very serial killer is busy preparing for his next attack. As Spector stalks through Sarah’s empty house, the thrill of his crime clearly excites him. When Sarah arrives home she finds that Spector has left a disturbing calling card laid out on her bed.

For both Spector and Gibson, the hunt has begun.

The Fall is on BBC2 tonight at 9pm. If it’s a hit, I think the idea is to make some more. It’s written by Allan Cubitt, who adapted Martina Cole’s The Runaway for Sky, and has written episodes of Murphy’s Law and Prime Suspect.

Anderson is also due to join the cast of Hannibal in the US this week, as Dr. Lecter’s psychoanalyst. It’s a nice piece of meta-casting. X-Files creator Chris Carter always said that her Scully character was based on Clarice Starling from Silence Of The Lambs.

We discussed  Hannibal last week, of course. It’s currently ‘on the bubble’ at NBC, which means it hasn’t been picked up for a second season yet, unlike a lot of other series that have received renewals. That’s a shame because I liked last week’s first episode on Sky Living very much, and apparently it gets better.

Unknown-10Meanwhile, for those of you who like to doze in bed of a night with BBC Radio 4 burbling in the background, this week’s Book At Bedtime is John le Carre‘s new book A Delicate Truth.

Damian Lewis – or as we call him in our house, that Brody from Homeland – reads this tale of a good man wrestling with his conscience. Let the blurb take the strain:

An undercover counter-operation in the British colony of Gibraltar, a middle-ranking man from the Foreign Office serving as ‘eyes on’ and reporting to an ambitious Minister; the aim to capture a jihadist arms-buyer, the success, assured.

But back in the UK a junior officer has his doubts and commits an unthinkable act. Three years on, he will find himself facing an impossible choice. In a journey that will take him from Cornwall to Wales via murky secrets in the depths of Whitehall, Toby Bell will try to find out the truth about the night on the Rock and bring it the attention and justice it deserves.

A Delicate Truth is on BBC Radio 4 every night this week at 10-45pm.

You may want to take a gander at this nice interview with le Carre here. He has some interesting things to say about the frustration he still feels at being branded the Cold War guy after all these years, and it’s clear that his writing is as important to him as it ever was.