Letter: Joss Ackland obituary

In the BBC adaptation of John le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979), Joss Ackland shares a vital scene in a central London bar with Alec Guinness as George Smiley. As Jerry Westerby, a sports journalist also employed by “the Circus”, he tells of how on a trip to Prague he had heard from a young Czechoslovak soldier of Russian involvement in foiling a Circus ploy, another piece of the jigsaw that Smiley needs to trap the “mole” in Britain’s security service. Both actors are at the top of their game.

While Guinness is as inscrutable, intelligent and economical in style as ever, Ackland fills the screen with his gusto and enthusiasm – as Michael Coveney says, “always with energy and force” – and the two men complement each other perfectly in crafting a pivotal moment.

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