Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Season 1 Episode 5

Tinker Tailor

Aired Unknown Oct 08, 1979 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
9 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Tinker Tailor
Smiley learns more about the events of Operation Testify from Sam Collins, the former night duty officer. He then goes to confront Jim Prideaux, an old spy who long since came in from the cold and is now a school teacher. Smiley is especially interested in what the other side already knew about the Circus and how the different heads reacted to Prideaux's arrest and release.moreless

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  • The net tightens around "Gerald", the mole, as George Smiley learns extra details about the catastrophic Czech operation and finds Jim Prideaux at a country school.

    There were a number of fine performers backing up Alec Guinness in "Tinker, Tailor" - the series made a TV star out of Ian Richardson and allowed Hywel Bennett to make a successful comeback. However, it might be said that the very best of the supporting performances came from Ian Bannen as the resourceful, tough, utterly ruined Jim Prideaux, the sacrificial lamb of "Operation Testify". Bannen makes this rough-hewn eccentric a natural-born victim, an overgrown schoolboy who has never quite been able to see that espionage is rather more than an extension of a boys' game. This episode also introduces Duncan Jones as the young schoolboy Roach ("Jumbo"), whose owlish face and horn-rimmed spectacles remind us only too aptly of George Smiley.moreless
John Standing

John Standing

Sam Collins

Guest Star

Alexander Knox

Alexander Knox


Guest Star

Mandy Cuthbert

Mandy Cuthbert

Molly Purcell

Guest Star

Ian Bannen

Ian Bannen

Jim Prideaux

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Haydon: I'll have a word with the chief hood of the Czech Embassy. If they hurt a hair on Jim Prideaux's head, I'll strip the entire Czech network in this country bare.

    • Prideaux: I came round in a prison hospital. Barred windows, high up. They operated, after a fashion. Next time I came round, I was in a prison cell with no windows at all.

    • Prideaux: You don't break exactly, you just run out of stories to tell. I reached the point where the things they'd locked away, deep down, were the only things coming into my brain.

    • Collins: All power corrupts, but some must govern, and in that case Brother Lacon will reluctantly scramble to the top of the heap.

    • Prideaux: You know, I hoped I'd go mad.

  • NOTES (0)


    • Prideax: We don't want them swiping the Alvis. It's irreplaceable, thanks to socialism.

      Alvis cars were produced in Britain from 1919 until 1967. The company was purchased by British Leyland, which itself was partly nationalised in 1975.

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