As you’re all no doubt aware by now, Toby Jones is one of this country’s finest and most adaptable actors, but he’s at his best – I think – when he playing men who are conflicted somehow, perhaps slightly timid and unable to express emotions. There’s something about Jones’s furrowed browd and hangdog look. He appear alongside Andrea Riseborough and Kim Cattrall in Sarah Phelps’ The Witness For The Prosecution, and he’s wonderful. I managed to get hold of an interview with Toby, which is after the jump.
We got seriously excited when it was announced the BBC’s next Agatha Christie adaptation – The Witness For The Prosecution – was to be, well, adapted by Sarah Phelps, who did such a terrific job in last year’s terrific And Then There Were None. With Julien Jarrold on directing duties, it’s as you were, but today the BBC announced an equally impressive cast.
I woke up this morning after last night’s second episode of The Secret Agent to news of more shootings and suicide bombs, in Florida and Germany respectively. It’s a hard, awful world we’re living in at the moment, and The Secret Agent, although set a hundred years ago, has themes and arguments that are extremely topical. Joseph Conrad probably didn’t foresee a world where a novel he wrote would have huge relevance 109 years later.
As has been noted this new adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent is topical and almost prescient, telling as it does of a cell of anarchists headed by Soho smut peddler and double agent Adolph Verloc, tasked by his Russian embassy paymaster to take things onto a new level and provoke his cell into carrying out a fatal bombing. If not, his paymaster tells him, he will blow his cover, surely resulting in every anarchist in Europe coming after him. Verloc decides he has no choice – only ever an informant he is now faced with being a terrorist to save his own skin.
Toby Jones is one of my favourite actors. He’s brilliant in everything he appears in (genuinely so), and he stars in the weekend’s The Secret Agent as Mr Verloc, in the BBC’s three-part adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Victorian-set spy novel. Unknown to his loyal wife, Winnie (Vicky McClure), Verloc is also paid by the Russian embassy to spy on an anarchist cell. Furious at Britain’s refusal to confront the anarchist threat sweeping across Europe, Verloc’s Russian handler gives him a mission: Orchestrate a bombing that will be blamed on the anarchists and provoke a crackdown from the British. Verloc must source a bomb, but hide his actions from Winnie and Chief Inspector Heat (Stephen Graham) of Scotland Yard’s Special Crimes Division. Unable to persuade his anarchist comrades to help, Verloc sets his sights on Winnie’s younger brother Stevie as his accomplice… We managed to get hold of an interview with Toby, which you can read after the jump.
Yes, he’s back. The taciturn Swedish detective, Martin Beck, is, um, back in, um, Beck. We really enjoyed this cobbled together series from various years when the batch aired last autumn, and now it’s back with more. And that’s not all – after a quiet few weeks, there’s new murderous black comedy on Walter Presents in The Out-Laws, swish new Victorian spy/crime drama The Secret Agent and new daytime crime drama from Ireland, Red Rock. It’s suddenly got busy again!
I’ve tried to stay away from spy dramas because, well, they’re not really crime dramas, per se. But the BBC’s adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novel, The Secret Agent, does have a strong crime element in it, thanks to Stephen Graham’s Chief Inspector Heat of Scotland Yard. It’s a Victorian-set thriller, and what I’ve seen of it, it’s worth a watch. And now we know when it’s going to air.