Smiley's People

Season 1 Episode 4

The Rogue Elephant

Aired Unknown Oct 11, 1982 on BBC Two
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Episode Summary

The Rogue Elephant
Smiley gets into trouble in Hamburg but can leave with valuable material. His next step is to get Maria Ostrakova to safety and inform the Circus.

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  • George Smiley returns to London, where he has to convince his former colleagues in "the Circus" of the importance of Mme. Ostrakova's information.

    The slow-building, but utterly gripping, suspense of "Smiley's People" is leavened by sly humour throughout - something Alec Guinness handles in much the same deadpan manner as he employs in his most serious moments. Just as, in a Hamburg sex club, Smiley chooses to register his contempt merely by cleaning the lenses of his spectacles with his tie whilst naked girls gyrate, once back in London he undermines the boorishness of his self-satisfied successor in the Secret Service (a fine, very funny performance by Barry Foster) simply by the emphasis of his speaking - with the unstated subtext that he is enunciating clearly purely so that this bovine fellow will understand him.moreless
Michael Byrne

Michael Byrne

Peter Guillam

Guest Star

Mario Adorf

Mario Adorf

Claus Kretzschmar

Guest Star

Eileen Atkins

Eileen Atkins

Maria Ostrakova

Guest Star

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Kretzschmar: (hearing that Leipzig was killed): Then what good is the material?
      Smiley: The material is an embarrassment to the man who sent the killers.
      Kretzschmar: Will it kill him also?
      Smiley: It will do worse than kill him.

    • Smiley: I'm going to have to tell you, Peter, I'm working on my own these days.
      Guillam: Bloody hell, George! I must say you put a strain on friendship, you do. You mean I called out the entire emergency service of Paris to assist you in a piece of private enterprise?

    • Ostrakova: I hope that at some convenient moment you will allow me time to mourn, monsieur.

    • Ostrakova: I did not dare to call the police. Who are the police today? We should have a police to catch the police.

    • Smiley: In my time, Peter Guillam, I've seen Whitehall's skirts go up and come down again. I've listened to all the excellent arguments for doing nothing and reaped the consequent frightful harvest. I've watched people hop up and down, and call it progress. I've seen good men go to the wall and the idiots get promoted with a dazzling regularity. All I'm left with is me and 30-odd years of cold war without the option.

  • NOTES (1)

    • The part of Peter Guillam, one of the key roles in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" (where Michael Jayston played him), is much smaller in this sequel. Michael Byrne now takes over the part.