Spies on TV

Date and time: Saturday 22 April 2017, 2-5pm

Venue: G.04, 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh

An afternoon of discussion about how spies have been represented on television.  This series of three drop-in events includes an introductory talk by Joseph Oldham that draws from his new book Paranoid Visions, an interview with acclaimed playwright Zinnie Harris on writing for the TV series Spooks, and a discussion among the organisers of Spy Week about the progression of Le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy from book to TV to film.

Refreshments will be available throughout this afternoon of informal discussion with plenty of time for questions.


2pm – Joseph Oldham  ‘Spies, Conspiracies and the Secret State in British Television Drama’

3pm – Zinnie Harris  Interview with scriptwriter Zinnie Harris (Spooks)

4pm –  Simon Cooke, Penny Fielding, David Sorfa, ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: novel, TV and film’

Joseph Oldham

Joseph Oldham is Associate Fellow in Film and TV Studies at the University of Warwick. His forthcoming monograph Paranoid Visions: Spies, Conspiracies and the Secret State in British Television Drama explores the history of the spy and conspiracy genres on British television, from 1960s Cold War series through 1980s paranoid conspiracy dramas to contemporary ‘war on terror’ thrillers. It analyses classic dramas including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Edge of Darkness, A Very British Coup and Spooks.

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Zinnie Harris

Zinnie Harris is a playwright, screenwriter and theatre director. Her most recent works include This Restless House (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, 2016), winner of Best New Play at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland 2016 and How to Hold Your Breath (Royal Court Theatre, 2015), winner of the Berwin Lee Award 2015. Zinnie is currently under commission to the Royal Court, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. She has been the Associate Director at the Traverse Theatre since spring 2015. She has also written for television and radio, with two 90 minute dramas for Channel 4 called Born with Two Mothers and Richard is my Boyfriend and episodes for the BBC One Drama Series Spooks. She was lead writer on the series Partners in Crime for Endor / BBC 1 (broadcast in 2015), starring Jessica Raine and David Walliams and which was based on the Agatha Christie novels Tommy and Tuppence.

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Tinker Tailor panel

More about our panelists can be found on their profile pages on the English Literature and Film websites:

Prof Penny Fielding, Dr Simon Cooke and Dr David Sorfa

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