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Swithin

London Spy: New gay-themed BBC series

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In London last month I watched two (of five) episodes of London Spy, a new BBC gay-themed thriller. I believe it will be aired in the US soon. It's a fascinating series with well drawn gay characters.  The brilliant and handsome young (gay) actor Ben Whishaw stars. Watch for it on BBC America in January.

 

London-Spy.jpg

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06pmnwn

 

http://www.bbcamerica.com/shows/london-spy

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I liked Ben in the film version of Bridehead Revisited. Is London Spy about actual spies or is the title somehow metaphorical? 

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I liked Ben in the film version of Bridehead Revisited. Is London Spy about actual spies or is the title somehow metaphorical? 

 

Actual spies.

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I've only seen him in two films, but I like him very much.  I saw him in an Off-Broadway play that examined homosexuality in the '50's and in the present day.  He has such a riveting stage presence.  I wish that I could've seen his Hamlet.

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I've only seen him in two films, but I like him very much.  I saw him in an Off-Broadway play that examined homosexuality in the '50's and in the present day.  He has such a riveting stage presence.  I wish that I could've seen his Hamlet.

 

I saw him on stage in a revival of Jez Butterworth's Mojo a couple of years ago. Yes -- riveting presence!

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The first episode is Thursday, January 21 at 10:00 PM. (BBC America) Thanks, Swithin, for bringing this to our attention and I can't wait to see it.

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I watched the first episode last night on BBC America and, unexpectedly, I found it just a little too grim.  Also, the character of the spy was clearly a troubled individual so Ben Whishaw's "love" seemed clueless to me.  Speaking for myself, I would've definitely kept my distance from this guy.

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I watched the first episode last night on BBC America and, unexpectedly, I found it just a little too grim.  Also, the character of the spy was clearly a troubled individual so Ben Whishaw's "love" seemed clueless to me.  Speaking for myself, I would've definitely kept my distance from this guy.

The first episode took place over time (8 months I think Jim Broadbent said) so what seems to have started as fascination and physical attraction had time to evolve into something more compelling, though Danny himself was questioning how it could have happened by the end. I understand what you're saying because the character of Alex was an almost  perfect cipher. His eyes seemed to give away everything but actually gave away nothing, which allowed Danny to project all sorts of things. The aspect of the show I responded to most was the "mentor" relationship between the younger and older gay men, something which seems to have been more common in my own youth than it is now.

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The first episode took place over time (8 months I think Jim Broadbent said) so what seems to have started as fascination and physical attraction had time to evolve into something more compelling, though Danny himself was questioning how it could have happened by the end. I understand what you're saying because the character of Alex was an almost  perfect cipher. His eyes seemed to give away everything but actually gave away nothing, which allowed Danny to project all sorts of things. The aspect of the show I responded to most was the "mentor" relationship between the younger and older gay men, something which seems to have been more common in my own youth than it is now.I

I really enjoyed the Jim Broadbent character - so if a menitoring relationship develops that proves helpful to Danny, I might be able to find my way into this series.  Also, do you remember that horrible story that Danny told about his downward slide and how the Jim Broadbent character was able to save him?  Do you think that Danny has a need to hurt himself again?  Thus, his hard-to-understand relationship with the Alex character. 

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Interesting episode tonight, but so grim.  All the actors were superb, though.

And it stayed pretty grim through the final episode, didn't it? I'm still digesting it. I'm not quite sure how I feel about the final outcome of the Scottie storyline; (Spoiler!) giving him a previous history of depression was maybe too obvious a way to set up such a sad resolution, which semed to harken back to the olden days when gay characters had to off themselves. But, on the other hand, who wouldn't be depressed in that line of work? Plus I love Jim Broadbent as an actor, so I felt the loss on that level too. Anyway, even though the story defied logic so many times, logic was still at its center and it was fascinating to watch it play out. One thing I was unclear on was whether or not Alex could still be rescued or was his failure of the test of his own devising his final chance? I know we're left with the idea that nothing can be done, but still it ended with the hopeful little band of two, so who knows? Overall, I liked how integral the gay element was and, at the same time, how peripheral to the events of the story. That's the way it should be.

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And it stayed pretty grim through the final episode, didn't it? I'm still digesting it. I'm not quite sure how I feel about the final outcome of the Scottie storyline; (Spoiler!) giving him a previous history of depression was maybe too obvious a way to set up such a sad resolution, which semed to harken back to the olden days when gay characters had to off themselves. But, on the other hand, who wouldn't be depressed in that line of work? Plus I love Jim Broadbent as an actor, so I felt the loss on that level too. Anyway, even though the story defied logic so many times, logic was still at its center and it was fascinating to watch it play out. One thing I was unclear on was whether or not Alex could still be rescued or was his failure of the test of his own devising his final chance? I know we're left with the idea that nothing can be done, but still it ended with the hopeful little band of two, so who knows? Overall, I liked how integral the gay element was and, at the same time, how peripheral to the events of the story. That's the way it should be.

I missed last week's episode so I am at a disadvantage.  But the overall grimness really bothered me.

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