A Spy Among Friends by Ben McIntyre, abridged by Barry Johnston

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A Spy Among Friends on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, 24-28 March 2014
Read by Simon Russell Beale, this biography told the story of Kim Philby - charmer, socialite, and master Soviet spy, who spent many years managing to dupe British intelligence before being finally unmasked in 1963.  David Roper's production put an interesting slant on the material, viewing Philby's life through the prism of Nicholas Elliott, one of Philby's closest friends in MI6, who believed implicitly in Philby's reliability as a spy, and was to be highly disappointed when he discovered the truth.  The narrative worked towards a climactic conclusion in the fourth episode, when Elliott confronted Philby and forced him into a confession.
However the story did not end there.  Although Philby''s treachery had been exposed, the British government were loth to bring him to trial.  They had just sentenced George Blake, another Soviet spy, to forty-two years in prison, and realized that to organize a second trial soon afterwards would be politically damaging.  Nor could they leave Philby in Beirut (where he was finally arraigned), as he might prove damaging to British interests.  Thus it is highly likely that they let him escape to the Soviet Union, where he remained for the rest of his life as a spent force for nearly twenty-five years.
Read by Simon Russell Beale (a memorable George Smiley in the John le Carré series for Radio 4), A Spy Among Friends Told a gripping, if somewhat familiar narrative.