TV preview: The Secret Agent

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It’s London, 1886, and Verloc runs a seedy shop in the heart of Soho. Unknown to his loyal wife Winnie, he is paid by the Russian embassy to spy on a dangerous anarchist cell.

Furious that Britain tolerates violent extremists, he is summoned by the Russians and given a mission – he must orchestrate a bombing that can be blamed on the anarchists and provoke a political crackdown by the British.

Verloc must source a bomb from The Professor, but hide his actions from Winnie and Chief Inspector Heat of Scotland Yard’s Special Crimes Division. Unable to persuade his anarchist “comrades” to help, Verloc sets his sights on Winnie’s younger brother Stevie as his accomplice.

Based on Joseph Conrad’s 1907 novel, the three-part drama sees Toby Jones take the part of Veloc with Vicky McClure playing his wife Winnie, Stephen Graham as his adversary Chief Inspector Heat and Ian Hart as the dangerously unpredictable Professor. Vicky says: “I’m so excited to play the part of Winnie. It’s an incredible script. And I’m delighted to work with 
Toby Jones – I’ve always been a huge fan of his.”

The drama has been adapted by Tony Marchant, who said: “I can’t think of any actors better suited to delivering the modernity and authenticity of Conrad’s work to the screen.”

The Secret Agent, BBC1, Sunday, 9pm

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