Cold War spy-turned-writer Le Carre fires broadside at 'junk' TV dramas
Best-selling novelist and former spy John le Carre has rubbished the television dramatisation of life within the secret service, describing BBC series Spooks as "junk".
The Cornwall-based author, speaking on the eve of the film adaptation of his Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy classic, also claimed the intelligence services were granted too much power in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in America.
Mr le Carre, who worked for MI5 and MI6 during the Cold War era, said members of the public had also become "alienated both from government and from foreign policy".
Speaking at the film's premiere, the veteran writer said: "I think there is actually a general dismay about what we do in defence of democracy, and how much freedom since 9/11 we have given to these services which we must now take back."
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In a wide-ranging attack on the secret services, Mr le Carre also issued a broadside at popular television series Spooks. Drawing on his own experiences serving with the Foreign Office from 1959 and during the 1960s before leaving the service to write full time, the novelist added: "If you have lived in that world, you know that it is stupid.
"I don't watch Spooks. It's crap. I'm sorry. I have been in that world for almost half a century and once in it, you get a notion of what constrains you and what doesn't.
"The idea that people just go around shooting and killing people and so on is crazy."
The Oxford University graduate, who went on to teach at Eton, added: "If I was working at sea, I would have written about the navy.
"But that was my reality during my most formative years and to see it sadly traduced and made comedic or turned into a kind of bus ride of fast cars and fast women is just junk."