BritBox UK and Spectrum Originals will jointly debut A Spy Among Friends, a drama series based on the New York Times best-selling book written by Ben Macintyre.
Sony Pictures Television, ITV Studios and Veritas Entertainment Group are producing the show in the UK. It stars Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce. Lewis will also serve as executive producer through his production company, Ginger Biscuit Entertainment. The series has begun production in London this week and also will shoot in Romania.
From British writer Alexander Cary, producing alongside ITV Studios’ Patrick Spence (Adult Material, Fortitude), the six-episode limited series will have a worldwide premiere airing exclusively on BritBox in the UK and Spectrum’s On Demand platform in the U.S. in autumn 2022.
“How could I resist the opportunity to dramatise the true story of Nicholas Elliott (Damian Lewis) and Kim Philby (Guy Pearce) — two spies and lifelong friends, one of whom was betraying the other all along?” said Cary. “A friendship that resulted in the gutting of British and American intelligence at the height of the Cold War and shaped the field of play for the dangerous game against Russia that we’re still trying to win today. Macintyre’s books about spies from recent history are relevant and exciting because they examine the larger universal themes of human behavior that drive individuals among us, and like us, to excel in the murky world of espionage and, for better or worse, leave a lasting impact on the world.”
Additional cast includes: Anna Maxwell Martin (Motherland, Line of Duty) and Stephen Kunken (Billions, The Handmaid’s Tale) and Adrian Edmondson (Back to Life, The Pact).
Alexander Cary serves as creator and executive producer along with Patrick Spence, Nick Murphy and Damian Lewis’ Ginger Biscuit Entertainment. The limited series is directed by BAFTA award-winner Nick Murphy (Save Me, A Christmas Carol) and produced by BAFTA award-winner Chrissy Skinns (Elizabeth is Missing, The Last Kingdom). Bob Bookman, Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen are executive producers for Veritas Entertainment Group.
Will Harrison, BritBox UK Managing Director said: “We’ve sought out the highest calibre writing, acting, directorial and production talent to create exceptional original British programming for BritBox. A SPY AMONG FRIENDS is the epitome of this and will provide a new and thrilling, must-watch show for subscribers.”
“I’m incredibly excited about collaborating with BritBox UK and ITV Studios along with our partners at Sony on this project,” said Katherine Pope, Head of Spectrum Originals. “This emotional thriller examines espionage through a deeply personal lens, and we are lucky enough to be in the hands of the brilliant Alex Cary, Nick Murphy, Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce whose dedication will yield a distinctly special series.”
“Alex and I have worked together over the years so I was thrilled when we finally got him to join the Sony family,” said Lauren Stein, EVP Drama Development, Sony Pictures Television. ‘A SPY AMONG FRIENDS’ was the first project he brought us and with the combination of Alex’s creative vision and the talent of Damian and Guy, we immediately knew this was a dream project. I couldn’t be more excited to be working on something so special.”
“I’m excited to be producing and starring in ‘A SPY AMONG FRIENDS.’ These fabulous scripts by Alex Cary take an up-close look at friendship – a friendship that was blinded by love, class, and membership to the right clubs, and ended in betrayal and the deaths of thousands,” said Lewis. “It’s been a fantastic creative process developing ‘Spy’ and now I can’t wait to start filming with Guy and all the other brilliant actors who’ve happily agreed to join us.”
“It’s an honour to be a part of this thrilling project,” said Pearce. “I’ve always been fascinated by the intriguing MI6 history and getting to go on this journey with Damian makes it all the more brilliant. I’m also very happy to be working again with the wonderful and talented Nick Murphy.”
“From the moment I finished reading Ben Macintyre’s manuscript of A SPY AMONG FRIENDS, I knew there was a stellar television event to be produced from it,” said Bob Bookman. “My partners and I at Veritas feel honored to be collaborating with Alex Cary, Nick Murphy, and our dream cast to make this passion project become a reality.”
“Alex, Damian, Guy, Nick and Chrissy – every producer dreams of bringing together a team as good as this. Bring it on,” added Patrick Spence, ITV Studios.
Kevin Lygo, BritBox Originals Creative Chief and ITV’s Director of TV concluded, “A SPY AMONG FRIENDS is a brand-defining original commission starring world class British talent. We are really looking forward to sharing it with our subscribers.”
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