Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

British Spy Fiction and Class

Marissa and I watched the first couple of Sandbaggers episodes today. Although Burnside himself seems to be well-connected (his ex-father in law is the Permanent Undersecretary) at one point his superiors ask about the background of the Sandbagger he put in charge. And the defector in the second episode is a touchy issue in part because of his class as well as his position.

It brought to mind Len Deighton's "Berlin Game" series, which is definitely very class-conscious, although I think I didn't pick up on it much when I first saw the serialization on TV. Bernard Samson is an army brat who grew up in Germany; his superiors have the old school connections.

(Does James Bond count as upper-class? I think fictionally he has the right background--- and certainly the tastes--- but not all the actors can pull it off.) And it's been too long since I read any le Carre...

It seems to me that the fiction of this sort, class distinction is often blurred with the operation/political distinction between the political appointees and the professional spies. I will have to ask Marissa whether this is a theme in MI-5 as well.
Tags: books, television
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