Year: 2000

Title of the play: Single Spies (An Englishman Abroad and A Question of Attribution)

Author: Alan Bennett

Director: Alan Dossor

Others in the Cast:


Theatre and location: West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds and Theatre Royal, Windsor

Other productions of the same play:  A radio play for BBC. 

Plot summary: An amusing double bill about double agents - Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt.

Product description of the BBC radio play from Amazon:

A critically acclaimed double bill of Alan Bennett plays, adapted for BBC Radio. An Englishman Abroad - It is 1958, and in a squalid flat in Moscow, double-agent Guy Burgess is hiding from the world. When he is visited by actress Coral Browne, he is overjoyed to see someone from his former life in England. Starved for information, Burgess interrogates her about English society gossip. A Question of Attribution - In 1956, Sir Anthony Blunt - pillar of the Establishment and respected Knight of the Realm - is working as Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures. Perfectly at home in the corridors of Buckingham Palace, he frequently encounters Her Majesty as he works on her paintings, and has a special fondness for one particular Titian. However, there is one small problem: the painting, like Blunt himself, is a fake. Is the Queen aware that her enigmatic servant might also be other than he seems? Poignant and moving, these two brand new adaptations feature Simon Callow, Brigit Forsyth, Edward Petherbridge and Prunella Scales.

Peth’s role: Tailor / Sir Anthony Blunt


In A Question of Attribution, set in London 10 years later, we find Edward Petherbridge's Blunt in contrastingly luxurious surroundings as Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures. Unlike Burgess, he is impeccably smart and rigorously restrained, yet troubled and also under surveillance. Kate Bassett, The Telegraph, 27 April 2000


Having cast Edward Petherbridge as Blunt, director Alan Dossor could largely relax on that front: this kind of patrician poise, underlaid with a slight but palpable current of worried distraction, is Petherbridge's forte. Ian Shuttleworth, The Financial Times


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