Masterspy of Moscow - George Blake Storyville


Masterspy of Moscow - George Blake

A Storyville documentary: Cold War spy George Blake betrayed his colleagues to the KGB, then escaped from Wormwood Scrubs five years later and fled to the Soviet Union.


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Transcript


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CHORAL MUSIC

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It was the last leg of a long journey.

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I was trying to find a man

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who'd been wanted by the British police for nearly 50 years.

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I did have the feeling that he wanted to be somebody -

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to end up having done something quite important.

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First, he'd planned to be a priest.

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Then he became a secret agent.

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He said to me, "Are you one of us?"

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And I said, "What do you mean, George?"

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"George" was George Blake,

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the most damaging British traitor of the Cold War.

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What Blake did

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is what a good spy is supposed to do...

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..to obtain highly protected secrets from a foreign government.

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The trouble was, those secrets were ours.

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He toyed with me like a gambler.

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How long can you gamble?

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He's continued to deny

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that he was responsible for getting people killed.

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And there he was, in the window -

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the spy who got away.

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I was a bit sorry, in a way -

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because we all liked George.

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I never, for one single moment,

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thought that he was anything but British...

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..though there was a slight, greasy look about him -

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which gave me the idea that he might have some...

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perhaps Jewish blood in him,

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or perhaps something oriental -

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tinge of oriental, somewhere.

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In fact, George Blake was born here in Holland, in 1922 -

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and his name was "Behar", not "Blake".

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His father, Albert, was a British subject,

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but was neither Dutch nor English.

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He named his son "George" after the King of England,

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but did little else to make him feel British.

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Indeed, as Blake's biographer Roger Hermiston found out,

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he scarcely communicated with his son at all...

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Albert spoke English

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and he spoke French.

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What he didn't speak - astonishingly,

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because he lived in Rotterdam,

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he made his business, he made his home in Rotterdam -

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he didn't speak Dutch.

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..and George in those days spoke nothing but Dutch.

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His father had a business

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on the ground floor of their canal side house,

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making tough gloves for dock workers.

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But he remained an outsider in his family's city.

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He was a man who liked to keep himself to himself.

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He was a man with secrets.

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I get no sense at all that George Blake and his father

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had any normal father-son relationship.

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Not surprisingly, George grew closer to his mother...

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..and that, in time, meant closer to God.

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Catherine Behar belonged to

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a liberal branch of the Protestant church

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and this was where she prayed,

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among like-minded members of the Dutch upper-middle-class.

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George says he wanted to become a pastor himself,

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though in the stricter Calvinist Church of working people.

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Then suddenly, everything in his solemn young life turns upside down.

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A worldwide slump hits the family business.

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Albert falls ill and dies.

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His mother, in their house by the canal,

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is struggling to pay the bills...

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..when out of the blue, a fairy godmother enters the story.

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His father, it turned out, had a sister called Zephira -

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and Zephira lived in Egypt, in a palace.

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And so, it was to here that George was sent to complete his education.

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It was a magnificent life, because they were very rich,

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there were a lot of servants -

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servants come from Nubia -

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the south of Egypt.

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And it was very beautiful,

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the house, with a very big garden.

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It was on Zamalek -

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it was the high land of Cairo,

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where the rich people lived at that time.

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Cousin Sylvie knows all the family stories.

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The head of the family was a banker called Daniel Curiel

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and George, it emerged, was half Jewish -

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grandson of a carpet dealer in Istanbul.

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George was astonished at the beginning,

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because also he was very puritan,

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so he was not used to such a noisy life!

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George must have wondered who he was, where he came from,

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what he believed in.

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Was he now a Calvinist, a Lutheran?

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Or was he Jewish?

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Was he Dutch? Was he Egyptian?

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Or what?

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His new family made sure he learnt French and English

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and turned him into a citizen of the world.

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But they did much more than that.

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This is the authorised history of MI5.

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"There was much that SIS had failed to discover...

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"about their new recruit" - that's Blake -

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"notably the influence on him of his older cousin, Henri Curiel,

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"co-founder of the Egyptian Communist Party."

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Here is the grave of Henri Curiel.

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1978... "Assassine"?

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Yes.

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Henri Curiel was murdered here, at his house in Paris.

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No-one was ever caught.

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"Fallen in the struggle for socialism and peace,

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"to which he dedicated his life."

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When they first met, Henri had been a playboy

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and George a bit of a prude -

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but the next two years changed both of them.

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SHE SPEAKS FRENCH

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Back in Holland,

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George's family had moved to a seaside town near The Hague.

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As the summer ended, Germany invaded Poland.

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So instead of Cairo,

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he returned to school in Rotterdam -

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and to yet another shock.

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They came over our house in Utrecht, flying at low altitude.

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You could see these pilots in the cockpit looking down at us

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and we looked back at them.

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Louis Wesseling, later a close friend of Blake's,

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was also a schoolboy then.

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My mother said,

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"This is a flagrant insult to our impartiality in wars", you know?

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And I said, "Mother, you're wrong.

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"It is war.

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"It's totally different.

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"Your world has changed - and mine too."

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George was in Rotterdam with his grandmother,

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trapped in the eye of the storm,

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like the nearby family of Robert van Voren.

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What I have here is a film made by my grandfather,

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who was an amateur filmer.

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This is Rotterdam, from his balcony.

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So these are the German bombers, the Junkers.

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Here, you see images of the bombing itself.

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This is the harbour.

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We saw... the ashes of Rotterdam landed in Utrecht.

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The sky was red and we knew it was terrible.

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From her home by the sea,

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George's mother tried desperately to contact her son.

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But when the Dutch royal family headed for England,

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she faced a stark choice.

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The last ship was leaving and she had two daughters to protect.

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When George finally reached home,

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all he found were the remains of breakfast on the kitchen table.

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He was not yet 18.

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We shall fight on the beaches,

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we shall fight on the landing grounds,

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we shall fight in the fields and in the streets.

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We shall fight in the hills...

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Stirred by British defiance,

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George Behar wanted to join the fight.

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After some scrapes with the German occupation forces,

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he made contact with the embryonic Dutch resistance.

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Terrified he was not.

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He loved the atmosphere of illegality.

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He liked the romance of it.

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He liked living life on the edge.

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He liked being in danger.

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But there was little - beyond running messages -

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he could do in Holland to hasten victory.

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So in July 1942,

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he set off on a hair-raising journey through occupied France

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and into Spain.

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What I now understand is that we are war children.

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You have peace children, you have war children.

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Our lives are drenched in war.

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Having been part of the resistance, having seen the bloodshed,

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I think there is a...

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Especially when you still have this young age,

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this kind of determination to never let this happen again.

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By January 1943, he was heading for England...

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..where a new name, a new job

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and a chance to change the world awaited him.

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"If any person having any possession of document

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"communicates to foreign power...

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"shall be guilty of misdemeanour."

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This is the document that Blake signed

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when he was first recruited by MI6 -

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as the Secret Intelligence Service was known.

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His resourcefulness in reaching England had impressed them

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and he was sent to work in Broadway Buildings,

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one of the many MI6 offices dotted around London's political zone.

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He was joining an elite,

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where the usual entry ticket was the right school

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or the right family.

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I think my father knew somebody called Guy Westmacott,

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who was in MI6 - and they were looking for...

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..for girls to come and do the typing.

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We always had to say we worked in the Foreign Office...

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..and...

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we weren't actually even in the building.

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Susan Asquith, as she then was,

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had just arrived there from a stint

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typing for the codebreakers at Bletchley.

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In keeping with the times, the best jobs went to the boys.

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My cousin, she was always saying,

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all the ones she knew were frightfully stupid.

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The head of the whole thing came down to Bletchley.

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She said, my God - it's not him.

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And he was somebody she used to go hunting with.

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She said, "Well, that really does condemn you, doesn't it?"

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One of her tasks was to sort incoming messages -

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and that's where she met George Blake,

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on secondment from his official job in the Royal Navy.

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George used to come in practically every day and just...

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I mean, not that I knew him well or anything, but he used to

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come and have a cup of tea and wait for his telegram and all that.

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He was much more amusing to talk to

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than most of the people who wandered in to pass the time of day.

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He loved talking about religion and...

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How he couldn't...

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He was going to be a priest, but he couldn't really, now.

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I don't know why.

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Something to do with...

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He was quite religious, was he?

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Yes, very.

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But he had a Walter Mitty streak too,

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regaling his new friends with stories

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about being dropped by parachute into Holland.

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George himself was dropped in, as you know.

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On... I forget on how many occasions.

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And it always had to be at night.

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Was she absolutely certain about this, I asked?

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About being dropped in? Yes, he said he was terrified.

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Because you never knew when the land was going to come up to meet you.

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Because, you know? Dark and all that.

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He said he was dropped in...

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I forget how many times - several times.

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Really?

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He easily exaggerated, you know?

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And how.

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These airborne liberators of the southern provinces of the Netherlands

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were greeted and assisted

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by enthusiastic Dutch underground forces.

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He'd never, in fact, been dropped into Holland -

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though when the war ended, he did go back there,

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accompanied - among others - by Iris Peake.

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I'd been moved to the Dutch section a few months before

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and then, I can't remember how it happened,

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but we were asked if we would go out to...

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..The Hague and work there for a few weeks.

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Iris was from a grand English family -

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light years away from a Dutch refugee.

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He was always great fun.

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Everybody liked him.

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They took over a house in a place called Wassenaar

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which is quite near The Hague, right on the coast there.

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And there were quite a lot of men working there.

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And then there was another place, where we had our bedrooms.

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The girls slept over in this other bit of the house.

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It must have been disconcerting for Blake -

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feted as a liberator,

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whilst the countrymen of his childhood were close to starvation.

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It was like arriving in a completely sort of dead place,

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rather like going to the moon, or something.

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When we first arrived, there was no food there.

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They were eating the tulip bulbs for food.

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We were like skeletons

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and the boys - they were nothing like the boys

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that liberated us, who were well fed, self-assured.

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We were shadows of our own selves.

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And the girls at the time were a big problem for us,

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because they felt attracted to these healthy soldiers that came.

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At a political level too, there were tensions.

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The euphoria of victory soon gave way to rivalry

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between the West and the Soviet Union.

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There were millions of displaced persons,

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wandering all over Europe -

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many of whom were swearing loyalty and fealty to the West,

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because they didn't want to be sent back East,

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where they would face prison or worse.

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Tim Weiner sifted through thousands of CIA documents

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to compile a history of the period.

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Who loves whom? Who hates whom?

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Who's who?

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We don't know -

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and in these two years,

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between the death of Adolf Hitler

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and the advent of the Cold War,

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there is a state of chaos.

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Blake, somewhat displaced himself,

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thrived in his new job.

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I felt he was ambitious, that he wanted to be somebody -

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as if he wanted to be famous.

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But in what direction, I don't know.

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Some thought that one direction he'd have liked was closer to Iris.

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The euphoria of victory was one thing,

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social realities another.

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Did you stay in touch, when you came back to England?

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Well, yes. I mean, we were both still at MI6, then.

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So we sort of... We had lunch from time to time and then he was...

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I think he was sent to Cambridge, to learn Russian.

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So I really lost touch with him, then, yes.

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Cambridge had been the breeding ground of

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an earlier generation of gentleman traitors...

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..but being sent there by MI6 to learn Russian

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was a mark of the confidence they now had in Blake.

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He was put on their permanent staff -

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in effect, translated from useful outsider to "one of us".

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But Blake, in a seminal interview

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given when he first broke his silence more than 20 years ago,

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says it was precisely the moment

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when he began to drift the other way.

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I think it was one of the decisive moments in my conversion,

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although I didn't realise that myself then.

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And the Professor of Russian was Dr Elizabeth Hill

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and somehow, she managed, in her tutorials

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to inspire into her pupils

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and certainly in me

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a very great admiration -

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I would say romantic admiration -

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for everything Russian.

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But even his favourite tutor thought he was a man apart.

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Accommodation for the officers on the course

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had been arranged in this college,

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but Blake chose instead to live in a village outside the city.

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I'd say, "Why do you live in Madingly,

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"instead of with the other officers?"

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Which was very odd, to me.

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And he would say, "Oh, I like the exercise"

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which is a very poor answer.

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So I don't know whether he was not already left-wing,

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or even worse.

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Alan Judd is a historian of MI6

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and now writes about spies

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in fiction that has a ring of fact about it.

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He thinks Blake would have known he could never belong.

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Philby was much better at playing the game of being part of them,

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because Philby was, of course.

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He was the beloved child of the establishment.

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But Blake probably never had the social confidence,

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I would guess, that would have made him feel part of them,

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or not mind whether he was or not.

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He'd never lived here, he'd never been brought up,

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he hadn't been schooled here.

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You know, he didn't have that emotional thing to overcome...

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once he started to reject his country.

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Deep down, the man who'd once wanted to be a minister of the church

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was now questioning everything.

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Not just where he belonged, but what he believed in.

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In his autobiography, he offers with hindsight

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a theological defence for what he was about to do.

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He says he now came to believe that free will was an illusion.

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"No room for free will on the part of a human being."

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Everything is preordained

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and that sins themselves a part of God's will.

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"You cannot punish me for my sins

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"because my sins were put inside me and are not my fault."

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In other words, as he approaches the biggest choice of his life,

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there is no choice.

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It takes about two hours to get from Seoul

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to the frontier with North Korea.

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That's on a normal day.

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But there had been an exchange of gunfire across the line

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the day before we'd turned up -

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so everyone was a bit jumpy.

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OK, they've told us that the DMZ is closed to tours,

0:21:090:21:13

so we're going down this road,

0:21:130:21:14

to see if we can get closer to it ourselves.

0:21:140:21:17

Not quite sure where we're going, but let's see where it goes.

0:21:200:21:24

THEY SPEAK KOREAN

0:21:260:21:29

When George Blake arrived here in the autumn of 1948,

0:21:450:21:49

it was still technically one country,

0:21:490:21:51

though trouble between the two halves was obviously brewing.

0:21:510:21:56

The Communists were concentrated in the North -

0:21:560:21:59

American-leaning nationalists in the South.

0:21:590:22:01

There's a watchtower.

0:22:040:22:05

There's the DMZ -

0:22:090:22:11

the demilitarised zone.

0:22:110:22:12

Blake had a daunting task.

0:22:160:22:19

Those mountains over there are North Korea,

0:22:190:22:22

which was then a Russian sphere of influence.

0:22:220:22:25

His job was to target the Soviet city of Vladivostok,

0:22:250:22:29

about 500 miles beyond them.

0:22:290:22:31

He felt disillusioned, really quite quickly.

0:22:310:22:34

He felt that the scale of the task that he was being asked to tackle

0:22:340:22:38

was really beyond him.

0:22:380:22:40

Vladivostok, that he was supposed to be penetrating...

0:22:410:22:45

As far as the crow flies, may have not been that far,

0:22:450:22:48

but it was as if it was in another world.

0:22:480:22:50

The city was the focal point of Soviet strategy in the Far East.

0:22:560:23:00

Where is China? Where is Korea? Where is Russia?

0:23:020:23:06

HE SPEAKS RUSSIAN

0:23:060:23:08

Alexei Buyakov has worked closely with Russian intelligence for years.

0:23:210:23:25

It's the kind of assignment -

0:23:440:23:47

difficult, dangerous,

0:23:470:23:49

well-nigh impossible...

0:23:490:23:51

..that was given to intelligence officers

0:23:520:23:56

in the early days of the Cold War.

0:23:560:23:59

"Proceed forward to Vladivostok and recruit Russian-born agents,

0:23:590:24:03

"who will serve the West."

0:24:030:24:06

Now, how the hell are you going to do that?

0:24:060:24:08

Blake's base for Mission Impossible

0:24:090:24:12

was here at the British Legation in Seoul.

0:24:120:24:15

He was a month short of his 26th birthday and starting from scratch

0:24:150:24:20

in a city where British influence was negligible

0:24:200:24:23

and living conditions appalling.

0:24:230:24:24

There was nothing to eat.

0:24:260:24:27

There was very little in the way of basic human services,

0:24:270:24:32

like potable water.

0:24:320:24:34

The first thing that most American soldiers remember

0:24:340:24:38

is the stink of it -

0:24:380:24:40

not the stink of the dead,

0:24:400:24:42

but the stink of life.

0:24:420:24:44

The stink of corruption, too.

0:24:480:24:51

The American-backed regime of Syngman Rhee appalled Blake.

0:24:510:24:55

And with every month that passed, he says,

0:24:550:24:58

he became more disenchanted with his own side,

0:24:580:25:00

more sympathetic to the Communists.

0:25:000:25:02

I didn't feel anti-Communist by then -

0:25:020:25:05

certainly on a local level.

0:25:050:25:08

I remember the Minister of Education

0:25:080:25:12

having a big photograph of Hitler in his room.

0:25:120:25:14

And my sympathy already, by then,

0:25:140:25:18

was very much with the resistance, or the opposition.

0:25:180:25:21

ORGAN MUSIC

0:25:240:25:26

On Sunday morning, June 25, 1950,

0:25:260:25:29

George Blake was at a service in the crypt of the Anglican Cathedral.

0:25:290:25:34

The whisper went round

0:25:340:25:35

that the Communists were advancing on Seoul from the North.

0:25:350:25:38

As soon as the service was over,

0:25:410:25:43

Blake and the other diplomats hurried back to the legation.

0:25:430:25:47

Their standing instructions from London were that

0:25:470:25:50

Britain would remain neutral if civil war did break out,

0:25:500:25:53

so they should stay put.

0:25:530:25:55

It was a bad call.

0:26:000:26:02

Britain did not remain neutral

0:26:060:26:08

and by nightfall on Wednesday,

0:26:080:26:11

the North Koreans had entered the compound

0:26:110:26:13

and Blake and his colleagues were prisoners.

0:26:130:26:16

In the quiet town of Perry, Northern Florida

0:26:220:26:25

lives one of the few men still alive who was a prisoner with Blake.

0:26:250:26:29

Ed Sheffield, whose company of 700 men

0:26:300:26:34

had been overwhelmed in the opening onslaught.

0:26:340:26:36

One guy ran up there,

0:26:360:26:38

kicked my rifle away from me,

0:26:380:26:42

kicked my helmet off my head

0:26:420:26:45

and motioned for me to get up.

0:26:450:26:48

And when I stood up,

0:26:490:26:51

he began to frighten me with a rifle butt, you know?

0:26:510:26:54

Here I am, right here.

0:27:010:27:03

Right there.

0:27:040:27:06

The North Koreans were mean people.

0:27:060:27:09

They didn't treat you good at all.

0:27:090:27:11

But nor, in the heat of war, did the Americans.

0:27:130:27:16

A massive counterattack began, driving the Communists back north.

0:27:170:27:21

The countryside was devastated

0:27:210:27:23

and so were the people beneath the bombardment,

0:27:230:27:26

including Blake and his fellow prisoners.

0:27:260:27:29

They kept moving us further and further north in their territory.

0:27:300:27:34

Sometimes by train, but the train was getting strafed too.

0:27:340:27:38

We were in box cars, cattle cars.

0:27:390:27:43

The planes would come in and bomb us and strafe us.

0:27:430:27:46

I guess it was American planes.

0:27:470:27:50

-Quite frightening, to be bombed by your own side.

-Yeah.

0:27:500:27:53

Blake and his friend Jean Meadmore felt in real danger.

0:27:560:28:00

He told me, "I don't want to die in North Korea."

0:28:000:28:04

He said that - George Blake said,

0:28:040:28:06

"Je ne veux pas mourir en Coree du Nord."

0:28:060:28:09

So despite his anti-Americanism,

0:28:090:28:12

it was to the Americans that he now decided to flee.

0:28:120:28:15

He told me, "I'm going to try to escape tonight.

0:28:150:28:17

"Do you come with me?"

0:28:170:28:18

I said "No.

0:28:180:28:20

"I haven't got the guts to do it,

0:28:200:28:22

"because I think it's absolutely doomed to failure.

0:28:220:28:26

"We haven't got a chance."

0:28:260:28:27

Nobody escaped from a Korean camp, nobody.

0:28:280:28:31

The guards had told us that if we tried to escape,

0:28:310:28:34

they'd catch us and they'd shoot us.

0:28:340:28:36

But Blake did try,

0:28:380:28:39

setting off under cover of darkness

0:28:390:28:42

to reach the advancing American troops.

0:28:420:28:44

It was a long way uphill.

0:28:440:28:47

Obviously fitter than me - two hours...

0:28:470:28:49

..up to the top of a ridge...

0:28:500:28:52

..and one more row on the other side, before suddenly,

0:28:530:28:57

out of the darkness...

0:28:570:28:59

It was a Korean soldier.

0:29:000:29:02

Blake says he first tried to convince his captors he was Russian,

0:29:040:29:09

but eventually admitted he was a British diplomat.

0:29:090:29:12

He was then taken to a cave,

0:29:140:29:17

where a small fire was burning.

0:29:170:29:19

He realises he's in big trouble and he gets put down in a corner,

0:29:190:29:23

given something to eat briefly

0:29:230:29:25

and told that he'd decide his future in the morning.

0:29:250:29:28

That could well have been the moment at which he said,

0:29:280:29:30

"Look, I'll cooperate, I'll tell you.

0:29:300:29:33

"I'm actually a member of MI6."

0:29:330:29:35

Blake has always vehemently denied that.

0:29:360:29:39

I didn't speak any Korean and in the time that I was away -

0:29:390:29:43

which included my walking to that place across the mountains -

0:29:430:29:47

and the time I was in the cave

0:29:470:29:49

and the time to walk back to the camp...

0:29:490:29:52

I couldn't possibly have made such a deal with anybody.

0:29:520:29:56

Maybe, but it's odd claiming he spoke no Korean,

0:29:560:29:59

given that he'd been there for two years

0:29:590:30:01

and was clearly having some sort of dialogue with his captors.

0:30:010:30:05

Whatever. When dawn broke, he was let off with a reprimand

0:30:050:30:10

and made to rejoin his fellow prisoners.

0:30:100:30:13

We were taken on what was known as a death march

0:30:130:30:17

and for the next three months,

0:30:170:30:19

we were in extremely harsh conditions.

0:30:190:30:22

I was, on one occasion,

0:30:220:30:24

beaten up and made to sit in the snow

0:30:240:30:27

for about four hours.

0:30:270:30:30

If I had been recruited by the Russians,

0:30:300:30:33

they would never have allowed me to be exposed to such danger -

0:30:330:30:38

and to the danger of losing a potentially very valuable agent.

0:30:380:30:42

What the Americans on that death march remember

0:30:430:30:47

is that the man who let Blake off

0:30:470:30:49

was not known for his mercy.

0:30:490:30:51

They called him "The Tiger".

0:30:510:30:53

My company commander got up and approached him,

0:30:530:30:56

told him that none of these men were able to go on a forced march

0:30:560:30:59

up through these rugged mountains.

0:30:590:31:01

The Tiger's reply was, "You will go or you will die."

0:31:010:31:05

So my commander called him a madman...

0:31:070:31:10

..and that was a mistake, because he called over two of his guards

0:31:120:31:16

and they took him, tied his hands behind him...

0:31:160:31:19

..took him up there, about 50 yards away

0:31:210:31:24

in a little rock cliff there, about 12 foot high...

0:31:240:31:29

Positioned him there on the edge of it...

0:31:290:31:31

..and he walked up there behind and shot him in the back of the head.

0:31:320:31:36

Sorry to tell you, but there it is forbidden to take film.

0:31:370:31:41

There is a sign up there.

0:31:410:31:43

It's interesting to speculate what his career would have been,

0:31:460:31:48

had that escape attempt succeeded.

0:31:480:31:51

He'd have been worshipped in SIS

0:31:510:31:54

and maybe gone on to be

0:31:540:31:56

a very successful and loyal senior member of it -

0:31:560:31:59

who knows?

0:31:590:32:00

From high over Vladivostok,

0:32:010:32:03

you can look down on the building that used to be

0:32:030:32:06

KGB headquarters for this region.

0:32:060:32:08

The way they tell it here,

0:32:110:32:13

it was one of their men who should take the credit

0:32:130:32:16

for seeing that Blake was worshipped instead by the KGB.

0:32:160:32:20

Nikolai Loenko was certainly in Korea at that time,

0:32:230:32:27

looking for likely agents -

0:32:270:32:28

but he gets no mention in Blake's book.

0:32:280:32:31

HE SPEAKS RUSSIAN

0:32:310:32:33

Buyakov thinks one explanation

0:32:420:32:45

is that Blake didn't discover Loenko's name

0:32:450:32:47

until very much later.

0:32:470:32:49

There is one curious postscript,

0:33:020:33:04

which lends some weight to Buyakov's story.

0:33:040:33:07

Nearly 50 years later,

0:33:070:33:09

the governor of the Pacific region, Evgeny Nasratenko

0:33:090:33:12

got a phone call from Moscow.

0:33:120:33:14

HE SPEAKS RUSSIAN

0:33:140:33:16

This was his official destination -

0:33:250:33:27

by then, FSB headquarters in the Far East.

0:33:270:33:30

Blake gave a talk in that low building there

0:33:310:33:34

and when it was over, asked to be taken to Loenko's grave.

0:33:340:33:39

I viewed Communism

0:33:550:33:57

as an attempt to create the kingdom of God in this world.

0:33:570:34:03

The Communists were trying to do by action

0:34:030:34:05

what the church had tried to achieve by prayer and precept.

0:34:050:34:10

I came to the conclusion

0:34:120:34:14

that I was no longer fighting on the right side.

0:34:140:34:18

Was he looking for a cause?

0:34:200:34:22

Was he looking for an identity that as it were,

0:34:220:34:25

took the place of a stable background...

0:34:250:34:27

Where I am, where I come from and what I'm for?

0:34:270:34:30

And that in Communism, he persuaded himself that he'd found it.

0:34:310:34:35

On 22 April 1953,

0:34:460:34:49

a man from MI6 hurried towards an airfield near Oxford.

0:34:490:34:53

An RAF Hastings aircraft lands at Abingdon,

0:34:540:34:57

bringing home several civilians

0:34:570:34:58

released at last from captivity in North Korea.

0:34:580:35:00

Blake and his fellow survivors arrived back in England as heroes.

0:35:000:35:05

No-one imagined that the trim young man in a blazer,

0:35:050:35:09

who gave a cheery wave

0:35:090:35:10

and marched briskly across the tarmac to greet his mother

0:35:100:35:13

was now the enemy.

0:35:130:35:15

How did you find the food out there, Mr Blake?

0:35:150:35:17

Well, the food was adequate, but very monotonous.

0:35:170:35:20

-It was monotonous?

-Very monotonous.

-Anything special?

0:35:200:35:23

I mean, any odd things they gave you to eat, or anything?

0:35:230:35:25

No, just rice and turnips, mainly.

0:35:250:35:28

When he manages to extract himself from the TV cameraman,

0:35:280:35:31

the reporters and his friends,

0:35:310:35:33

a man quietly says in his ear,

0:35:330:35:35

"Here's some money to tide you over for a few days,

0:35:350:35:39

"but we'd also like you to come in for an interview,

0:35:390:35:42

"back at SIS headquarters."

0:35:420:35:44

Blake duly turns up here on Monday morning.

0:35:440:35:47

I dare say they've left the place now,

0:35:470:35:50

but it still retains a lot of the grandeur

0:35:500:35:54

that Blake found when he first came here.

0:35:540:35:57

He's all psyched up for a detailed grilling,

0:35:570:36:00

but all he gets are some gentle questions,

0:36:000:36:03

spread over a couple of days.

0:36:030:36:05

And it's interesting to reflect

0:36:060:36:09

on the views of the Vice Chief of SIS at the time -

0:36:090:36:13

a chap called Sir James Jack Easton.

0:36:130:36:16

And he said, "I don't think at the time

0:36:160:36:19

"that anyone really thought that there would have been efforts

0:36:190:36:22

"to turn people in the camps.

0:36:220:36:24

"If it'd been an Iron Curtain country,

0:36:240:36:27

"it would have been different, but we used to regard North Korea

0:36:270:36:30

"as a bit primitive and unsophisticated, if you like."

0:36:300:36:34

CHEERING

0:36:340:36:36

Two months later, when the young Queen Elizabeth is crowned,

0:36:360:36:40

the Soviet Union's new secret agent

0:36:400:36:42

is standing here, overlooking The Mall...

0:36:420:36:44

..rubbing shoulders with the people who ran Britain's Secret Service.

0:36:460:36:50

George seemed a very OK guy

0:36:500:36:53

and he was after all, a bit of a hero.

0:36:530:36:56

Peter Montagnon was a signals expert,

0:36:560:36:59

who'd been drafted into MI6

0:36:590:37:01

to help with a top-secret phone tapping operation

0:37:010:37:04

going on in Vienna.

0:37:040:37:05

George came into the operation really quite late.

0:37:090:37:13

We were told to give him an easy ride,

0:37:130:37:16

because he'd had a very rough one in prison.

0:37:160:37:19

Not at all good at the work,

0:37:190:37:23

because he had a habit of...

0:37:230:37:27

curling up and going to sleep behind the safe.

0:37:270:37:30

And we put it down to the fact that

0:37:300:37:33

he was still recovering from being in a camp.

0:37:330:37:37

But not so dozy when it came to stealing secrets for the KGB.

0:37:370:37:41

It was the investigative writer Tom Bower

0:37:420:37:45

who first grilled him publicly on this.

0:37:450:37:47

Whenever it took your fancy, you just photographed documents?

0:37:470:37:50

Well, not when it took my fancy,

0:37:500:37:51

but when I realised it was the right opportunity.

0:37:510:37:55

When it did, I would wait, maybe till lunchtime.

0:37:550:38:00

I had a room to myself, so when the secretaries were away,

0:38:000:38:04

I photographed the documents.

0:38:040:38:05

Then he would get the Tube to a prearranged rendezvous

0:38:080:38:11

with his Soviet contact and hand the secrets over.

0:38:110:38:14

-Any nerves?

-In the beginning, but not afterwards.

0:38:150:38:18

How did you divide your day, between working for SIS

0:38:180:38:21

and working for the KGB?

0:38:210:38:23

I just worked for SIS

0:38:230:38:25

and whenever I saw something

0:38:250:38:30

which I thought might interest the KGB,

0:38:300:38:32

I simply, quickly photographed it.

0:38:320:38:36

-But it was a betrayal, it was traitorous.

-It was, yes.

0:38:360:38:39

-Did that ever cross your mind?

-Oh, yes. Of course it did.

0:38:390:38:42

If he didn't have any documents to steal,

0:38:440:38:46

he'd have lunch with Montagnon.

0:38:460:38:49

George was an engaging creature, who I liked a lot.

0:38:490:38:53

He was very affable...

0:38:530:38:55

and easy-going...

0:38:550:38:58

jolly...

0:38:580:39:00

What sort of things did you chat about?

0:39:000:39:02

His previous existence, as a Dutch resistance hero...

0:39:020:39:07

..because that was quite interesting.

0:39:090:39:11

George was a bon viveur.

0:39:150:39:18

He liked to eat well.

0:39:180:39:21

We used to go down to these wonderful Soho restaurants

0:39:210:39:25

and wend our way back

0:39:250:39:28

and carry on with the MI6 stuff.

0:39:280:39:31

The principal focus of attention

0:39:370:39:39

for MI6 and their counterparts in the CIA

0:39:390:39:42

was here, in Berlin.

0:39:420:39:44

The city was awash with rival spies,

0:39:440:39:47

but the Soviets were winning.

0:39:470:39:49

The paramilitary operations

0:39:490:39:52

that were designed to put human beings behind the Iron Curtain

0:39:520:39:57

were not working.

0:39:570:39:58

It was a series of unmitigated disasters.

0:39:590:40:02

It became clear that human agents were not going to do the trick

0:40:030:40:07

and that technological means of espionage had to be developed.

0:40:070:40:12

Thus was the plan for the Berlin Tunnel conceived.

0:40:130:40:16

Back in London, Christmas was coming

0:40:180:40:21

and Blake was about to deliver

0:40:210:40:23

his first great gift to the Soviet Union.

0:40:230:40:25

One morning in late December,

0:40:270:40:28

he was called to a top-level meeting in Carlton Gardens

0:40:280:40:32

to consider ways of tapping into the Berlin telephone system.

0:40:320:40:35

The man on the American side was Bill Harvey.

0:40:370:40:39

Harvey was a pear-shaped man

0:40:410:40:44

with bulging eyes,

0:40:440:40:46

who usually carried two handguns on his person

0:40:460:40:50

and was rarely sober, after noon.

0:40:500:40:53

He was a three-Martini man at lunch -

0:40:530:40:56

two doubles and a single.

0:40:560:41:00

And yet, from this pickled brain

0:41:000:41:03

emerged not the original concept of the tunnel,

0:41:030:41:08

but the execution of the tunnel...

0:41:080:41:11

..as he served as chief of the Berlin base.

0:41:130:41:16

The head of the British technical section

0:41:170:41:20

was a very small man

0:41:200:41:22

with a very squeaky voice

0:41:220:41:24

and with Bill Harvey's subterranean rumbling...

0:41:240:41:31

and this pipsqueak...voice,

0:41:310:41:35

it was rather entertaining.

0:41:350:41:37

It was like a bit of Viennese opera.

0:41:370:41:40

Blake's job was to take the secret minutes -

0:41:420:41:45

every word a jewel for the KGB.

0:41:450:41:48

How long did the meeting last?

0:41:480:41:50

It went on for hours, because we had to look at the, um..

0:41:500:41:54

..right place to dig the tunnel.

0:41:560:42:00

So it was dark, by the time the meeting broke up.

0:42:000:42:03

They'd made their choice

0:42:030:42:05

and most people went off into the night, for Christmas.

0:42:050:42:09

Not George Blake.

0:42:090:42:11

After the meeting had finished and everyone had gone away

0:42:110:42:14

and had a quiet moment,

0:42:140:42:16

he photocopied all the minutes

0:42:160:42:17

and early next year,

0:42:170:42:19

he takes a copy of the minutes of

0:42:190:42:21

this astonishing, original eavesdropping operation

0:42:210:42:25

to his KGB handler

0:42:250:42:27

and he actually hands them over to him

0:42:270:42:30

on the top deck of a London bus.

0:42:300:42:32

This is the place they had chosen - the Schonefelder Chausee.

0:42:390:42:42

The cable was running down the right-hand side here,

0:42:440:42:46

where these cars are parked.

0:42:460:42:48

That was the Soviet side - look at the buildings today.

0:42:480:42:51

The West was over there, among the trees.

0:42:550:43:00

It was wasteland, then.

0:43:000:43:02

But what the Americans did was,

0:43:020:43:04

they built some sort of low factory, like that one,

0:43:040:43:07

as a way of disguising all the earth

0:43:070:43:09

they were digging out from the ground.

0:43:090:43:11

Big building, bristling with antennae,

0:43:110:43:14

to make the Soviets and East Germans think

0:43:140:43:17

that it was for the interception of...broadcast communications,

0:43:170:43:23

not the cable communications.

0:43:230:43:26

And a few feet below the surface of this road

0:43:270:43:30

crouched Peter Montagnon and his team.

0:43:300:43:33

There was a chamber that went up underneath the road

0:43:330:43:38

and you could hear all the Joseph Stalin tanks etc

0:43:380:43:43

rumbling across the top and everybody was dead nervous

0:43:430:43:47

that our rather creaky little hole in the ground

0:43:470:43:51

was going to fall in.

0:43:510:43:53

But it was...good Boy Scout stuff.

0:43:540:43:59

Terrific sense of triumph, presumably, when you...?

0:43:590:44:01

When we got into the cables

0:44:010:44:03

and heard the first Russian voice -

0:44:030:44:06

yes, absolutely.

0:44:060:44:08

They were discussing sex and the officers, as usual(!)

0:44:080:44:12

Now, this -

0:44:170:44:19

on this deceptive little street -

0:44:190:44:21

is the nerve centre of the Soviet administration in East Germany.

0:44:210:44:25

And this is the place whose phone calls they were trying to intercept.

0:44:280:44:32

But even though the KGB shared a building here

0:44:320:44:35

with the Soviet army,

0:44:350:44:36

they didn't breathe a word to them about the tunnel.

0:44:360:44:40

They didn't want the secret of him

0:44:400:44:43

to spread beyond the Lubyanka.

0:44:430:44:45

They didn't want the GRU, the military intelligence...

0:44:450:44:47

They didn't want the Red Army to know.

0:44:470:44:49

So they let it run.

0:44:490:44:51

They let their secrets spill forth, really to protect Blake.

0:44:510:44:55

HE SPEAKS RUSSIAN

0:44:570:44:59

It was nearly a year before the KGB felt they could stage this

0:45:010:45:05

pantomime discovery without putting Blake at risk.

0:45:050:45:08

HE SPEAKS RUSSIAN

0:45:080:45:11

They gathered the media together and milked the moment.

0:45:130:45:16

And as you can see from this only recently declassified CIA report,

0:45:190:45:24

the KGB ploy to protect Blake worked.

0:45:240:45:28

The conclusion reached at that time

0:45:280:45:32

was that the blowing of the Berlin tunnel...

0:45:320:45:36

..was purely the result of unfortunate circumstances beyond our control.

0:45:370:45:43

Of course, this was what spy services everywhere do.

0:45:430:45:46

It must be a technological problem,

0:45:460:45:49

it must be a machine - it can't be one of us!

0:45:490:45:51

Come along, I want to show you the little apples.

0:45:580:46:01

From the moment that the blossoms starts,

0:46:010:46:04

I look at them every day, you see.

0:46:040:46:06

Did they catch on or didn't they?

0:46:060:46:08

Trudi Wesserling now lives on a farm near the Dutch border with Germany.

0:46:100:46:16

50 years ago, she and George Blake were good friends

0:46:160:46:19

and he would confide in her.

0:46:190:46:21

He said, I didn't really want to marry. I'm quite happy with Gillian,

0:46:210:46:27

but I didn't really want to marry.

0:46:270:46:29

We didn't know why he didn't want to marry Gillian.

0:46:290:46:32

But that's what he said.

0:46:320:46:35

Gillian was the woman he'd met at work when he came back from Korea.

0:46:350:46:39

Their romance began in Carlton Gardens

0:46:400:46:42

whilst he was passing on secrets to the communists.

0:46:420:46:46

Do you think it was because he knew that ultimately

0:46:460:46:49

he was going to betray her?

0:46:490:46:52

I think so. I think that was the reason, yes. Yes.

0:46:520:46:57

Neal Ascherson, a few years younger than Blake, had known her for years.

0:46:570:47:01

We were all children in Scotland.

0:47:030:47:05

Gillian was very pretty, sparky and mocking.

0:47:050:47:10

She realised then and in later encounters

0:47:100:47:14

that I was attracted to her, which I was.

0:47:140:47:17

And she regarded me as an absurd

0:47:190:47:22

and uncouth kind of figure

0:47:220:47:25

and she referred to me as Goofy.

0:47:250:47:27

By now, Goofy was at Cambridge.

0:47:280:47:31

Famously described by historian Eric Hobsbawm,

0:47:310:47:34

as perhaps the brightest student he'd ever taught.

0:47:340:47:37

One day, he had a blast from the past.

0:47:370:47:40

I saw Gillian to my complete surprise with this dark man,

0:47:400:47:46

who as far as I remember had a beard.

0:47:460:47:49

She introduced me - this is George - George Blake.

0:47:490:47:53

And I was impressed by how happy she seemed to be.

0:47:530:47:56

This was in contrast to the man she was with.

0:47:560:47:59

I assumed at the time that he just thought, "Oh, this is some old flame

0:47:590:48:04

"and I do not need this", you know.

0:48:040:48:06

The two of them then got married.

0:48:080:48:10

Did you think that they were suited to each other?

0:48:100:48:13

As much as anybody is suited to anybody else.

0:48:150:48:19

I knew her father was a senior guy in MI6

0:48:200:48:24

and that was about it.

0:48:240:48:26

When Kim Philby had been recruited to the KGB,

0:48:270:48:30

he was ordered to get rid of his new wife

0:48:300:48:33

because she had the wrong political colours.

0:48:330:48:36

Did Blake get an order like that in reverse?

0:48:370:48:41

Would he get an order like that? Yes, he might.

0:48:410:48:44

From the Soviet controller's point of view, the question of whether

0:48:440:48:48

he should or should not marry a colleague in SIS -

0:48:480:48:52

who had SIS relations, as well - was a pretty big opportunity.

0:48:520:48:57

Whatever the reason, Blake arrived in Berlin for his next assignment

0:49:010:49:06

a married man and still above suspicion.

0:49:060:49:09

And this is where George Blake and his new wife Gillian settled.

0:49:110:49:16

A nice leafy street in a smart part of the British sector.

0:49:160:49:20

And this is where he worked.

0:49:220:49:25

Hitler's Olympic Stadium.

0:49:250:49:28

Nazi architecture at its best.

0:49:280:49:31

Well, he didn't work in it, of course.

0:49:310:49:33

SIS had offices around to the right.

0:49:330:49:36

Blake's job in Berlin was to run agents.

0:49:380:49:40

He was to find agents, to run agents, to bring in information.

0:49:400:49:45

I mean, Berlin in the 1950s, in the mid-1950s,

0:49:450:49:49

was a haven for spies.

0:49:490:49:51

ACCORDION MUSIC

0:49:510:49:54

Berlin taught me one thing, which is that almost all intelligence work

0:50:030:50:07

is just a black market in information.

0:50:070:50:10

These people are black marketeers.

0:50:100:50:13

The Berlin Wall had not yet been built and it was possible to move

0:50:130:50:17

from one sector to another,

0:50:170:50:19

which suited Blake perfectly.

0:50:190:50:22

This is Friedrichstrasse,

0:50:220:50:24

just going into what used to be the East German sector.

0:50:240:50:28

Blake would come here, get out a couple of stops further on,

0:50:280:50:32

do his business, then come back.

0:50:320:50:34

How much material did you hand over in that period?

0:50:340:50:37

-Well, that I cannot tell you.

-Why not?

-Because it's so much.

-So much?

0:50:370:50:41

-Yes.

-You don't even know how much you handed over?

-No, I don't.

0:50:410:50:46

You fooled MI6 pretty well.

0:50:460:50:48

I suspect, for Blake, there was a thrill-seeking element.

0:50:490:50:52

Whether it applies to all spies, I don't know.

0:50:520:50:55

But there's certainly an element of getting one over on somebody.

0:50:550:50:58

Of getting away with it and teaching them.

0:50:580:51:00

His wife Gillian, I believe, also thought in retrospect

0:51:000:51:04

there was a control element.

0:51:040:51:06

That it gave him a sense of empowerment that -

0:51:060:51:09

I know something you don't.

0:51:090:51:11

I'm doing something you don't. I'm winning.

0:51:110:51:13

But it was a dangerous game, where the cleverest move

0:51:160:51:19

could be trumped at any moment.

0:51:190:51:21

As a journalist in the Cold War,

0:51:210:51:23

I was approached from time to time

0:51:230:51:26

by intelligence services - East and West...

0:51:260:51:29

..see if I could be used, one thing or another.

0:51:300:51:34

But one thing you learn very quickly -

0:51:340:51:37

particularly in Berlin, of course - is that the moment you sign up

0:51:370:51:41

to something like that, the other side knows.

0:51:410:51:44

One of Blake's informants in this double-crossing world

0:51:440:51:47

was a man called Horst Eitner.

0:51:470:51:50

Horst Eitner was a man who liked to go out

0:51:500:51:53

and tackle the Berlin night scene.

0:51:530:51:56

His wife was also an agent - she was a Russian agent.

0:51:560:51:59

They were out drinking one night in a Berlin bar,

0:51:590:52:01

he was with two other women and he was flirting with one of them

0:52:010:52:05

and she got so fed up with him, she said, "If you don't stop that,

0:52:050:52:09

"I'm going to go to the nearest police station

0:52:090:52:11

"and tell them about you."

0:52:110:52:13

And his behaviour didn't improve in the evening and she did go

0:52:130:52:16

to a police station and tell them, "My husband's a double agent.

0:52:160:52:20

"He's working for the British and Russian intelligence services."

0:52:200:52:23

And it was the start of the trail which led to Blake.

0:52:230:52:27

By the time Blake left Berlin,

0:52:270:52:30

he had betrayed virtually every agent working for the British.

0:52:300:52:33

But the noose he'd thrust his own neck into was tightening.

0:52:340:52:38

In 1960, Blake was sent by his grateful bosses to Lebanon.

0:52:460:52:50

He was going to learn Arabic at the centre for Arabic studies.

0:52:510:52:55

The so-called School for Spies.

0:52:550:52:57

Set up by the Foreign Office, in a mountain village called Shemlan.

0:52:590:53:02

By then, Louis Wessling was an oil executive

0:53:070:53:11

and he joined the school at the same time as Blake.

0:53:110:53:14

When people came just out of university of Oxford,

0:53:140:53:17

with first-class results,

0:53:170:53:19

it was genuinely a race - an academic race - who was best.

0:53:190:53:24

And funnily enough, George Blake was number one.

0:53:240:53:28

High in the mountains, Wessling and his wife became close friends of the Blakes.

0:53:290:53:34

I particularly liked George, I was very fond of him, actually,

0:53:360:53:39

because he was part Dutch and we used to talk a little Dutch together.

0:53:390:53:45

He loved to do that.

0:53:450:53:47

The real professional diplomats who were not spies

0:53:490:53:52

did not find him a very interesting man.

0:53:520:53:57

He was, of course, admired for his Arabic.

0:53:570:54:01

But, yeah, I think he considered me as a friend.

0:54:010:54:04

Cut off from the intrigues of Berlin and London,

0:54:070:54:10

Blake seemed to drop his guard.

0:54:100:54:12

We talked about the future of England

0:54:120:54:15

and he saw that in totally different way

0:54:150:54:18

that any other Foreign Office man saw that.

0:54:180:54:21

And I wondered at the time, and I said to my wife,

0:54:210:54:24

-is that allowed that he talks like that?

-And what were your views?

0:54:240:54:28

Shall I say that? I was as red as a brick...

0:54:290:54:33

SHE LAUGHS

0:54:330:54:36

-..at that time.

-And did he seem quite attracted to that?

0:54:360:54:41

Yes, he liked that.

0:54:410:54:43

He liked that very much and he was egging me on to say all kinds

0:54:430:54:47

of nonsense of how I would think

0:54:470:54:51

the world should be arranged.

0:54:510:54:54

He said the royal house of Windsor was finished.

0:54:570:55:00

The people won't stand up for it any more

0:55:000:55:03

and he was critical of class system.

0:55:030:55:06

He was leftist, leftist view.

0:55:060:55:09

Never heard of that.

0:55:090:55:11

A few months into the course,

0:55:120:55:14

a spy ring back in London was put on trial.

0:55:140:55:18

He said it is not as important as you think. And I said, why not?

0:55:180:55:22

He said, because these people did it for money.

0:55:220:55:26

If people spy for their principle,

0:55:260:55:29

those are the ones that are really dangerous.

0:55:290:55:31

Far away from Beirut,

0:55:360:55:38

something really dangerous to Blake had already happened.

0:55:380:55:42

A Polish intelligence officer had turned traitor, too.

0:55:420:55:46

A good traitor, this one. Because it was the communists he'd betrayed.

0:55:460:55:50

Back in London, MI6 realised that his information led remorselessly

0:55:520:55:56

to the unsuspecting George Blake.

0:55:560:56:00

It was the last party before we all said goodbye

0:56:040:56:09

and I danced with George.

0:56:090:56:13

He was holding me quite tight

0:56:140:56:16

but that was because he was a little drunk, I think.

0:56:160:56:20

-Flirting a bit?

-Absolutely.

0:56:200:56:22

I was saying to him the usual nonsense.

0:56:260:56:29

I said about the division of riches in the world and how unjust

0:56:290:56:33

it all was and George suddenly said to me, "Are you one of us?"

0:56:330:56:37

I said, "what do you mean, George?" "Oh," he said "nothing, nothing."

0:56:390:56:42

-Do you think that he was longing...

-Longing to tell the story.

0:56:460:56:51

Longing to have somebody who could share it.

0:56:520:56:56

He didn't have long to wait.

0:57:000:57:03

One night soon afterwards Blake ran into Nicholas Elliott,

0:57:030:57:07

head of MI6 operations in Beirut.

0:57:070:57:09

Elliott said to him, "George, they'd like you to go back to Broadway."

0:57:110:57:15

And Blake was very surprised about this.

0:57:150:57:17

And then Nicholas Elliott said,

0:57:170:57:19

"Well, I think it's about a future posting, a new job of some sort."

0:57:190:57:23

Blake smelt a rat immediately

0:57:260:57:29

and arranged to meet his Soviet handler on a nearby beach.

0:57:290:57:33

And his handler said, "Look, I don't think there's a problem here,

0:57:330:57:37

"I think you should go back. I think you shouldn't be worried" and that's how it was left.

0:57:370:57:41

You can imagine that they thought that Blake might be in trouble.

0:57:430:57:46

But what they would also have thought

0:57:460:57:48

was that Blake would find a way out of it.

0:57:480:57:50

Ride the storm, as it were.

0:57:500:57:52

Back in Shemlan, Blake told no-one.

0:57:540:57:57

His closest friends gathered to celebrate the likelihood of his promotion.

0:57:570:58:01

We had champagne and we were congratulating George.

0:58:020:58:06

He said, this is going to be wonderful

0:58:060:58:09

and we'll have a party again when you come back, etc etc.

0:58:090:58:13

Louis and I were happier for him than he was himself.

0:58:130:58:18

He was certainly in doubt about things,

0:58:180:58:21

what was going to happen if he went back to England, yes.

0:58:210:58:25

And rightly so.

0:58:270:58:29

Two days later, he turns up here sharp at ten o'clock as instructed

0:58:380:58:42

where he is met by a man called Harry Shergold.

0:58:420:58:45

At that stage, at probably 10:01, he's not feeling worried.

0:58:460:58:50

But then Shergold says, we're going to take a little walk

0:58:500:58:54

and we're going to go across St James's Park

0:58:540:58:56

and we're going to go to Carlton Gardens.

0:58:560:58:58

And I think that's when he starts realising

0:58:590:59:02

that this isn't any ordinary sort of meeting

0:59:020:59:04

and he just might have a problem or two.

0:59:040:59:07

when Blake arrived for the interrogation,

0:59:090:59:13

he was taken to this room, I think.

0:59:130:59:16

Ground floor on the right, I was told.

0:59:160:59:19

Overlooking the park.

0:59:190:59:21

There was a table - not this one, I'm sure -

0:59:240:59:27

but with chairs around it for the interrogators.

0:59:270:59:31

Outside - the park and sunlight.

0:59:340:59:37

Inside - in his head - gloom, I imagine.

0:59:380:59:42

Downstairs, a tape recorder was ready.

0:59:470:59:50

Publicly, SIS don't admit that a recording of the interview exists.

0:59:530:59:58

But it's actually been used for training agents.

0:59:581:00:03

For two days they got nowhere.

1:00:031:00:06

Shergold and his colleagues are plugging away.

1:00:061:00:08

You say you weren't a Soviet agent, we have such and such evidence.

1:00:081:00:12

And Blake is doing what any double agent should do

1:00:121:00:17

and deny all this sort of stuff.

1:00:171:00:20

Blake could have just walked away at any time, he wasn't charged.

1:00:201:00:24

They couldn't hold him at all.

1:00:241:00:27

The evidence was probably not usable in court without his confession.

1:00:271:00:31

Why do you think he didn't walk away?

1:00:321:00:35

Maybe that guilt thing.

1:00:351:00:37

Maybe the need to justify himself

1:00:371:00:40

even to those whom he had most offended.

1:00:401:00:43

The breakthrough came unexpectedly...

1:00:461:00:50

..on the morning of the third day.

1:00:511:00:54

What I've heard is that he didn't confess

1:00:541:00:58

in answer to a direct accusation.

1:00:581:01:00

He confessed in answer to a more oblique question,

1:01:001:01:02

which was a hypothetical one.

1:01:021:01:05

What would you expect us to do if you were in our position?

1:01:051:01:08

"We understand the pressures you were under.

1:01:081:01:11

"We understand that out in Korea you were put under extreme pressure

1:01:111:01:16

"and by force of that - you turned sides.

1:01:161:01:19

"You went over, you said you would spy for the Soviets."

1:01:191:01:22

'And when they said that, something happened to me,

1:01:261:01:29

'which even today I may find difficult to account for

1:01:291:01:33

'and it certainly goes against all logic of self-preservation.'

1:01:331:01:37

But my reaction - and it was a sort of gut reaction, was,

1:01:371:01:41

"Oh, no. I have not been tortured.

1:01:411:01:46

"I have not been blackmailed.

1:01:461:01:48

"I went to the Soviet intelligence service myself.

1:01:501:01:55

"I established contact with them

1:01:551:01:58

"and I offered them my services of my own free will."

1:01:581:02:03

And who knows what provoked that actual moment.

1:02:031:02:06

He may not know himself, because after all, people's account

1:02:061:02:09

of why they did what they did at the time

1:02:091:02:11

will vary from what they say at the time about it,

1:02:111:02:14

from what they say a week later.

1:02:141:02:16

Of what they might say in court

1:02:161:02:18

and what they say in their autobiography many years later.

1:02:181:02:21

The dam had been completely burst then

1:02:211:02:24

and Blake absolutely went on and told them everything.

1:02:241:02:29

-What was the look on their faces?

-Of great amazement.

1:02:291:02:32

Back in Lebanon, his wife Gillian was waiting with two children

1:02:341:02:38

and a third on the way.

1:02:381:02:40

Blake's friend and former colleague, John Quine,

1:02:401:02:43

came up to Shemlan to tell her the truth.

1:02:431:02:45

He told her to sit down, he'd pour them a glass of whisky

1:02:451:02:48

and he had something rather extraordinary to tell her.

1:02:481:02:51

Poor Gillian. That was my first reaction.

1:02:511:02:56

It is so difficult to understand that somebody

1:02:561:02:59

who's just your neighbour and you had a friendly relation with,

1:02:591:03:04

that he could do such a thing.

1:03:041:03:09

And yet he did.

1:03:091:03:11

It was my Eureka moment.

1:03:111:03:13

That's it!

1:03:131:03:15

That's why he is so reserved and want to be open

1:03:151:03:19

but cannot be fully open.

1:03:191:03:21

Hold something back from me. He's a friend but not a total friend.

1:03:211:03:26

That's it.

1:03:261:03:27

HEAVY DOORS SLAMMING

1:03:271:03:30

By the time Blake confessed, many British agents in Berlin

1:03:391:03:44

were already paying a price for his treachery.

1:03:441:03:46

This is a cell in the notorious Stasi prison...

1:03:471:03:51

..where people that Blake had betrayed were held until their fate was decided.

1:03:531:03:58

No evidence of this was produced at Blake's short trial.

1:04:021:04:06

But he was sentenced himself to what seemed like a vengeful 42 years

1:04:061:04:11

in a British jail.

1:04:111:04:13

Within SIS, the Holy Grail was the identity of agents

1:04:131:04:17

and anyone who destroys that, who gives away the identities

1:04:171:04:20

of agents - let alone gets them killed - it is just unforgivable.

1:04:201:04:24

That is a sin against the Holy Ghost of espionage.

1:04:241:04:28

The sentence was unprecedented and Blake appealed.

1:04:281:04:31

This document is the one he prepared to help his defence counsel

1:04:311:04:35

make this plea in mitigation.

1:04:351:04:38

And he's saying - you can see -

1:04:381:04:40

he's stipulated that the names he'd given should not be arrested.

1:04:401:04:44

Should only be used by the Russians to protect themselves and so on.

1:04:441:04:48

The appeal was rejected and one usually well-informed journalist

1:04:511:04:55

made the explicit connection.

1:04:551:04:57

My investigations reveal...

1:04:571:04:59

disappeared... been executed.

1:04:591:05:02

One year for each agent betrayed.

1:05:041:05:07

But out on the front line it wasn't so simple.

1:05:101:05:13

When the story broke, Neil Ascherson was in Berlin working for the Observer.

1:05:131:05:19

He managed to locate Horst Eitner,

1:05:191:05:21

the man whose flirting had helped uncover Blake.

1:05:211:05:25

I said to him,

1:05:251:05:26

"It's terrible what happened to all these people betrayed by Blake."

1:05:261:05:29

He said, "No, no, no.

1:05:291:05:31

"Once they had the list, they just went round to them and said,

1:05:311:05:35

"Now, look. We can play this the hard way

1:05:351:05:39

"or there's an easy way. How would you...

1:05:391:05:42

"The easy way is just to start working for us

1:05:421:05:46

"and not telling them that you're working for us."

1:05:461:05:50

On the other hand... "Oh, no. No, you don't need to go into that."

1:05:551:05:59

So, according to Eitner, most of them chose the easy way

1:05:591:06:03

and, no, they were not executed.

1:06:031:06:06

In fact, executions for spying in Germany were by then quite rare.

1:06:071:06:11

And later when Blake talked to Tom Bower, that hint of remorse

1:06:111:06:15

in his mitigation statement had been replaced

1:06:151:06:19

by a whiff of professional pride.

1:06:191:06:21

-You gave away the identity of every agent?

-Every agent, yes.

1:06:211:06:26

-Operating on behalf of MI6?

-Yes.

-How many is that?

-I can't say.

1:06:261:06:32

But it must have been, oh... I don't know, but maybe 500, 600.

1:06:321:06:38

Did you consider that one of those who you'd betrayed might be executed?

1:06:411:06:45

-I had been assured that that wouldn't be the case.

-By whom?

1:06:451:06:49

-By the people with whom I was in contact.

-By the KGB?

-Yes.

1:06:491:06:54

And you actually said to them, "What will happen to these people?"

1:06:541:06:57

Yes, I said to them, "I'll only give you this information

1:06:571:07:00

"if you can assure me that these people will not be executed."

1:07:001:07:04

From the late '50s, most cases of spying on German soil

1:07:061:07:10

were actually handled by the Stasi - the East German secret police.

1:07:101:07:15

So, to check out Blake's claim,

1:07:151:07:16

I went down to the place where you can ask to see their files.

1:07:161:07:20

Inside, I found a document which looked like a smoking gun.

1:07:211:07:25

The names have been blacked out but the words are pretty chilling.

1:07:261:07:30

The Stasi is saying that Blake did a lot to help them liquidate

1:07:301:07:34

the agent rings of the British.

1:07:341:07:37

And given them the names they say of 100,

1:07:371:07:41

not 500 or 600 spies.

1:07:411:07:43

And then they list what they say are the most dangerous of them.

1:07:441:07:48

A stenographer in the Council of Ministers.

1:07:481:07:51

A colonel in the army,

1:07:511:07:53

an official on the Planning Commission and so on.

1:07:531:07:56

These were not people who'd get off lightly.

1:07:561:07:59

The blacking out seems very final.

1:07:591:08:01

But in a country of meticulous records, nothing is lost for ever.

1:08:031:08:07

I managed to find the hidden names and gave them to a man

1:08:091:08:13

who knew all the German archives inside out.

1:08:131:08:15

Bernd-Rainer Barth is a specialist in espionage

1:08:171:08:21

and soon came up with some answers.

1:08:211:08:23

We found out from the files of the Ministry of Interior

1:08:231:08:28

that the stenographer got a lifetime imprisonment.

1:08:281:08:32

The third one, the member of the State Planning Commission,

1:08:321:08:37

got lifetime imprisonment.

1:08:371:08:41

The fourth one who was an official

1:08:411:08:44

in the Ministry for Mechanical Engineering

1:08:441:08:47

he got 15 years, reduced to ten years.

1:08:471:08:51

The next one, who was an official in the Ministry of Foreign Trade,

1:08:531:08:58

he got also lifetime imprisonment.

1:08:581:09:01

The last one, a woman, got five years and was still alive.

1:09:011:09:06

So, I went to find her.

1:09:061:09:08

400, 500 metres, I think.

1:09:091:09:11

She was visibly shaken by our arrival and still so scarred

1:09:111:09:15

by the memory of what she'd been through, she didn't want to talk.

1:09:151:09:20

Which left only the colonel unaccounted for.

1:09:201:09:23

He was probably one of the rare examples

1:09:231:09:28

in the second part of the '50s,

1:09:281:09:32

who was given to the Soviet authorities.

1:09:321:09:34

-So, you think the colonel might have been executed?

-Yes.

1:09:361:09:39

All but one of the others were released by the end of the '60s.

1:09:411:09:44

Deal or no deal?

1:09:451:09:47

Almost certainly no deal.

1:09:471:09:50

But this first hard evidence left that question still unanswered.

1:09:501:09:54

This is where the righteous traitor himself ended up.

1:10:021:10:05

One of his first visitors was his newborn son

1:10:091:10:12

in the arms of his long-suffering wife.

1:10:121:10:14

Although she stayed loyal for the next four years,

1:10:171:10:19

Blake was soon settling in to his new life.

1:10:191:10:22

Apparently, a model prisoner.

1:10:221:10:24

Spies, child abusers, and at that time,

1:10:261:10:31

probably still homosexuals, were the lowest of the low

1:10:311:10:36

in terms of how they were regarded by other prisoners.

1:10:361:10:39

But George made an impression and I think he made it because

1:10:411:10:46

he seemed to be taking this 42 year sentence in his stride.

1:10:461:10:51

MUSIC: Prelude in C Minor, BWV 934 by Bach

1:10:511:10:54

Michael Randle is the last man alive of the three

1:10:591:11:02

who got him out of jail.

1:11:021:11:04

He didn't condone spying,

1:11:041:11:05

but thought Blake's sentence was inhumane.

1:11:051:11:08

He was in the Scrubs, himself, because of the energy with which

1:11:101:11:14

he'd campaigned for nuclear disarmament.

1:11:141:11:17

We were organising a demonstration at Wethersfield air base -

1:11:171:11:20

an American air base where nuclear weapons were stored.

1:11:201:11:24

A group of us who were actually organising it were arrested

1:11:241:11:28

and charged under the Official Secrets Act

1:11:281:11:31

and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment.

1:11:311:11:34

Randle and his wife Anne now live in Yorkshire.

1:11:341:11:37

In jail, his best friend was Pat Pottle.

1:11:371:11:40

I'm there and there's Anne. That's Pat Pottle.

1:11:401:11:45

And it was with Pat that Blake first broached the idea of escaping.

1:11:451:11:49

They were at the urinals together and...

1:11:491:11:53

These things happen in the urinals, as you know...

1:11:541:11:58

Pat said to him, "Have you ever thought of escaping?"

1:11:591:12:03

And George said, "I never think of anything else."

1:12:031:12:07

The escape plan went into action one night in October 1966.

1:12:101:12:14

Although Blake had help inside, the main movers were Pottle,

1:12:151:12:19

Randle and an Irishman called Sean Bourke, who were all free by then.

1:12:191:12:24

The astonishing thing was that they didn't get caught.

1:12:261:12:29

Bourke turned up knowing Blake was on the other side waiting for him.

1:12:291:12:34

He flung a rope ladder up there.

1:12:341:12:38

It wasn't quite so high in those days.

1:12:381:12:41

Blake caught it the other side, climbed over...

1:12:421:12:45

..and was down.

1:12:481:12:50

And they went down to that road there and got into a getaway car...

1:12:501:12:55

..and set off the mile or so to the safe house.

1:12:571:13:01

Bourke had found a place in a nearby street for them both

1:13:041:13:07

to hole up in before the alarm went up.

1:13:071:13:10

'It's believed that he got out of D Block where he was housed

1:13:101:13:12

'with 320 other long-term first offenders,

1:13:121:13:15

'by smashing a window and sawing through an iron bar.'

1:13:151:13:18

Within hours, Randle got a call.

1:13:181:13:21

Not from the police but the press.

1:13:211:13:23

Two journalists rang me and said, "You were in prison with George Blake,

1:13:231:13:28

"have you any idea of who might have been involved in this?"

1:13:281:13:33

"Well, no! Why would I?"

1:13:331:13:36

-Did the police, did you ever get a...

-Well, this is it.

1:13:361:13:39

You see, once I had those calls from the journalists, I thought,

1:13:391:13:44

well, if they can get on to it within a couple of hours

1:13:441:13:47

we've got to be prepared for them

1:13:471:13:49

to knock on our door and interview us.

1:13:491:13:52

But that never happened.

1:13:521:13:55

'The police are anxious to trace the movements of this car

1:13:551:13:58

'between the last time it was seen, which was at 6.30 on the evening

1:13:581:14:01

'of the escape in the vicinity of Wormwood Scrubs...'

1:14:011:14:03

In fact, Blake was in no shape to go anywhere.

1:14:031:14:06

He'd actually knocked himself out, he had a cut about here

1:14:061:14:10

and he'd not slept all night because of the pain.

1:14:101:14:15

-So, he did look rather gruesome.

-His fall had broken his wrist.

1:14:161:14:20

So, they found a sympathetic doctor and something to fix it with.

1:14:201:14:24

We knew someone who knew how to get hold of plaster of Paris bandages

1:14:241:14:29

from the BBC make-up department in the Doctor Who studios.

1:14:291:14:34

'We assume from this theory that he came the 12 miles or so

1:14:351:14:39

'from Wormwood Scrubs to London airport in a car.'

1:14:391:14:43

Not exactly.

1:14:431:14:44

The safe house turned out to be an unsafe bedsitter

1:14:441:14:47

with a shared bathroom.

1:14:471:14:49

So, they hurriedly found a couple who said they could use their flat.

1:14:501:14:54

A couple of days later I met up with the woman.

1:14:541:14:58

She was obviously feeling very nervous and she said to me,

1:14:581:15:01

"Who are these people?

1:15:011:15:04

"Why are they having to hide?" And I said, "Well, one of them is George Blake."

1:15:051:15:10

She stopped in the road and she said in a loud voice, "GEORGE BLAKE?!"

1:15:101:15:16

'Now, the hunt has spread much wider.

1:15:161:15:18

'Ports are being watched and trips, notably from the Eastern countries

1:15:181:15:22

'for whom he worked, are almost certainly under surveillance.'

1:15:221:15:26

The next day, the woman's husband came round to say his wife

1:15:261:15:29

had been so upset she told her therapist.

1:15:291:15:33

You mean, about us?

1:15:331:15:35

He said, "Oh, yes. Yes.

1:15:351:15:38

"The therapy doesn't work unless you're completely honest."

1:15:381:15:41

Sean Bourke dived under the bed, got his suitcase out

1:15:431:15:47

and started throwing things in it and said, "I'm off."

1:15:471:15:50

And George, who was always very much self-controlled, said,

1:15:501:15:55

"I think in all the circumstances, we should move somewhere else."

1:15:551:16:00

But his luck held.

1:16:001:16:03

The therapist said the hullabaloo had simply caused the wife to hallucinate.

1:16:031:16:08

At times I felt like we were immune.

1:16:081:16:11

Everyone was looking for him and yet nobody found.

1:16:111:16:15

It just seemed like we were floating around in a bit of a balloon.

1:16:151:16:20

After eight weeks of this comedy of errors,

1:16:201:16:23

they decided it was time to go.

1:16:231:16:25

They made their escape in a van, rather like the one they still have.

1:16:281:16:32

There was a long bench seat here to the back

1:16:321:16:37

which was hinged and...

1:16:371:16:41

-when you lifted the hinge, he would be hidden...

-Oh, underneath!

1:16:411:16:47

..underneath. So, when we were travelling, the hinge would be down

1:16:471:16:53

so it would be a complete bed and the children would be sleeping on top of it.

1:16:531:16:56

Most of the journey was relatively uneventful

1:16:581:17:00

though Blake got carsick in the secret compartment.

1:17:001:17:04

The first time that we had any kind of inspection was at the East-West

1:17:041:17:10

German checkpoint and there they did come down to look at the van,

1:17:101:17:14

opened it up...

1:17:141:17:16

As soon as they saw the children asleep...

1:17:161:17:21

No! No, they weren't going to bother.

1:17:211:17:24

You know, they didn't want to disturb the children.

1:17:241:17:27

So, they didn't look.

1:17:271:17:29

SHE EXHALES SHARPLY

1:17:311:17:32

We drove on that grim motorway

1:17:351:17:40

-from Helmstedt.

-Helmstedt.

1:17:401:17:42

-Immediately, it became black.

-There was no road lighting on the roads.

1:17:421:17:47

Potholes... That was frightening.

1:17:471:17:50

We drove until...

1:17:521:17:54

We could just see some lights in the distance, couldn't we?

1:17:541:17:57

Which would have been the checkpoint.

1:17:571:17:59

I remember George saying, "Well, we've done it."

1:17:591:18:03

I was thinking, "Well, you've made it, but will we?"

1:18:031:18:08

We'd said goodbye and then we left him at the side of a dark road

1:18:111:18:16

and there were just trees all around. Dark, black trees.

1:18:161:18:20

We just watched this receding figure.

1:18:201:18:22

Blake walked up to the guardhouse

1:18:251:18:27

and asked to speak to someone in the KGB.

1:18:271:18:30

I don't know, it just didn't seem to be real.

1:18:311:18:34

That was then,

1:18:461:18:47

and this - nearly 50 years on - is now.

1:18:471:18:50

HE SPEAKS RUSSIAN

1:18:521:18:53

The man on the left is George Blake.

1:18:571:19:00

Starting yet another winter in Russia.

1:19:001:19:03

Yeah. Well...

1:19:031:19:05

I prefer - we all prefer - the summer.

1:19:051:19:10

But it's inevitable that...

1:19:101:19:14

..the winter must come and then you try to make the best of it.

1:19:161:19:20

In fact, it's a long time, the winter is very long here.

1:19:231:19:27

His career as an active spy had lasted just eight years.

1:19:291:19:34

The dream for which he'd done so much damage to Britain is dead.

1:19:371:19:41

Spasiba.

1:19:441:19:45

When he'd arrived in the winter of 1966,

1:19:501:19:53

he was reinventing his life yet again in a strange, cold city.

1:19:531:19:57

His mother came to see him, but Gillian had divorced him

1:19:581:20:02

and he was cut off from his children in England.

1:20:021:20:05

But the KGB were good to him.

1:20:101:20:12

Like his fellow spy, Kim Philby, he was showered with medals

1:20:121:20:16

for his years in the field and given a flat near the city centre.

1:20:161:20:20

He got a job in a prestigious think-tank

1:20:241:20:26

a few stops south on the Metro.

1:20:261:20:28

And found a new wife, Ida.

1:20:301:20:32

They had a son Mikhail

1:20:321:20:34

and later his English children were reconciled, too.

1:20:341:20:37

The infinitely adaptable man.

1:20:381:20:41

SHE SPEAKS FRENCH

1:20:421:20:43

TRADITIONAL RUSSIAN SINGING

1:21:121:21:14

Each year, when spring returns, veterans of the old regime

1:21:161:21:20

happily belt out songs of what they call the great patriotic war.

1:21:201:21:24

But it's an illusion,

1:21:261:21:28

what's gone is the cause for which they fought and died.

1:21:281:21:31

One day, just before communism crumbled away,

1:21:341:21:37

Louis Wessling found himself in Moscow and invited Blake to lunch.

1:21:371:21:42

I called him and he was delighted. He said, "You are paying?"

1:21:421:21:45

I said, "Of course, I'll pay."

1:21:451:21:47

And he said, "Well, then, we must go to the best restaurant in Moscow

1:21:471:21:52

"opposite Lubyanka, the prison."

1:21:521:21:55

And he was very proud of Lubyanka. He said that Russians don't dare to walk

1:21:561:22:01

in front of it for fright of being taken in.

1:22:011:22:06

But he was clearly frustrated, said Wessling.

1:22:091:22:11

He was at the bitter end of his career. The war was over.

1:22:111:22:16

He said, "It is not the system, I'm still a Communist.

1:22:161:22:20

"It is the Russians who fucked it up."

1:22:201:22:22

And he said, "They never do anything right."

1:22:231:22:27

What he missed was the place where he was born.

1:22:301:22:33

"Can you get me a visa?" he asked his friend.

1:22:331:22:36

Don't ask me to get a visa, George.

1:22:361:22:38

If you go, you'll be glad to get out alive again

1:22:381:22:42

because people don't like you.

1:22:421:22:43

He didn't feel that at all.

1:22:461:22:48

He was childishly attached to go back to Holland.

1:22:481:22:54

And he had a totally different idea,

1:22:541:22:58

as if his past was forgiven and forgotten.

1:22:581:23:02

And I said, "No, it has not been forgotten."

1:23:021:23:05

When I was in Rotterdam myself, at the start of my journey,

1:23:081:23:11

I'd met a Dutch-speaking journalist called Simon Cooper.

1:23:111:23:15

He talked to Blake in Moscow a couple of years ago on the unusual condition

1:23:151:23:19

that anything he wrote would only be published in Dutch.

1:23:191:23:23

He told me, you arrive here and immediately as soon as you arrive

1:23:231:23:26

you'll see communism doesn't work.

1:23:261:23:28

And he said, "Well, I just came to terms with it. I moved on."

1:23:281:23:32

So, maybe it's this Calvinist idea that it was all predestined,

1:23:321:23:35

but he didn't struggle against his fate.

1:23:351:23:38

Once Blake believed that his fate was to help this country do God's work on Earth.

1:23:401:23:45

Look at it now. What did he think about that? I asked.

1:23:481:23:52

The condition of our interview is that

1:23:521:23:54

I wouldn't ask him about contemporary Russia.

1:23:541:23:58

Because I was told that Blake loathes Putin

1:23:581:24:00

and Putin is everything Blake doesn't like.

1:24:001:24:03

Putin is a cynic and he's violent.

1:24:031:24:05

But Blake is totally dependent on Putin and the security services

1:24:051:24:09

for his pension, so Blake doesn't want to say anything bad about Putin.

1:24:091:24:12

But of course he also doesn't want to say anything good about Putin, either.

1:24:121:24:16

I wanted to hear that from his own mouth.

1:24:191:24:21

But the message I got back from his family was that at 92,

1:24:211:24:25

he was too old to give another interview.

1:24:251:24:28

Still, one has to try.

1:24:291:24:31

Well, this is his street. Charming dachas

1:24:341:24:38

set in a charming wood.

1:24:381:24:40

Let's go and see if we can find the one where he lives.

1:24:411:24:45

This is the dacha he's been given

1:24:511:24:53

for his services to the Soviet cause.

1:24:531:24:55

I hadn't made an appointment, so I wasn't sure if anyone was in.

1:24:561:25:00

But then I saw him and he let me in.

1:25:041:25:06

We made small talk for a while.

1:25:091:25:11

-So, the next thing is that you do, is going to be this film...

-No, film.

1:25:111:25:15

Yeah. I've sort of done quite a lot of it.

1:25:151:25:18

But as soon as I brought up the subject of Putin's Russia,

1:25:181:25:21

the shutters came down.

1:25:211:25:24

Well, that I don't want to dwell on at the moment.

1:25:241:25:27

I don't think that... that is not part of your...

1:25:271:25:30

and now you are taking this particular interview.

1:25:301:25:34

No, I don't think I want...

1:25:341:25:36

'Instead of the easy smile,

1:25:361:25:39

'the closed look of a man who can still keep secrets.'

1:25:391:25:42

So, I asked him the other way round.

1:25:461:25:48

Would he still like to return to the place where he grew up?

1:25:481:25:51

No, no, no, no.

1:25:511:25:53

And anyway, you see, I'm virtually blind.

1:25:531:25:57

And so that makes travelling very difficult and not much point in it.

1:25:581:26:05

-Because I can't see anyway...

-Yeah.

-..where I am.

1:26:061:26:10

And whether I'm talking to you here now,

1:26:101:26:13

or whether I'm talking to you in Rotterdam

1:26:131:26:15

doesn't make any difference.

1:26:151:26:16

-I suppose that's right.

-That's right.

1:26:161:26:19

-But if you could get a visa?

-It's not that I wouldn't get visa...

1:26:191:26:25

but I wouldn't be quite sure about what would happen to me.

1:26:251:26:29

They might arrest me

1:26:291:26:31

and hand me back to the British in some way or another.

1:26:311:26:35

So, here he is trapped in a beautiful backwater

1:26:371:26:41

he can no longer see.

1:26:411:26:42

He's never going to admit it,

1:26:441:26:46

but he must wonder whether it was all worthwhile.

1:26:461:26:49

SHE SPEAKS FRENCH

1:26:491:26:51

THEY LAUGH

1:27:411:27:44

He said he was doing God's work on earth, but betrayed his colleagues to the KGB. Sentenced to 42 years in jail, George Blake escaped from Wormwood Scrubs five years later and fled to the Soviet Union. George Carey's film follows the strange life of this enigmatic traitor, tracking down people who knew him, and ending with an unexpected encounter in the woods outside Moscow.


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