TV UK TV

Act Of Betrayal (BBC-1 1971, Zena Walker, Mary Wimbush)

Broadcast under the Play of the Month banner, Act of Betrayal told the story of the infamous Portland Spy ring of the 1950’s and very early sixties, when five people (three men and two women, Morris and Lana Cohen, Gordon Lonsdale, Henery Houghton and Ethel Gee) living in different parts of the UK were accused of being Russian spies. They had supposedly been part of a plot designed to sell on the secrets of the first nuclear sub on to Russian sources.

The tangled plot saw them using a high powered wireless to transmit details to Moscow. This, thoroughly suburban tale assumes almost La Carre proportions at times, especially in the aftermath of the affair, when having been found guilty two of the spys, Morris and Lona Cohen, were sentenced to 20 years in prison but in 1969 were exchanged for Brit spy Gerald Brooke. Meanwhile Lonsdale was revealed to be actually Russian – real name Konon Molody.

There was a repeat screening on 23 March 1972.

production details
UK / BBC1 / 1×75 minute episode / Broadcast 3 January 1971

Writer: Hugh Whitemore / Production Design: Susan Spence / Director of Photography: John Baker / Script Editor: Rosemary Hill / Producer: Cedric Messina / Director: William Slater

cast
ZENA WALKER as Barbara Jackson
MARY WIMBUSH as Helen Kroger
ALAN MacNAUGHTON as Peter Kroger
MICHAEL GWYNN as Norton
GERTAN KLAUBER as Konon Molody
STANLEY MEADOWS as Bob Jackson
DEBORAH LAVIN as Julia Jackson
NICHOLAS SMITH as Tunnicliffe
GERALD SIM as Clifford
KENNY ARNELL as Susan
KARIN MacARTHY as Pat
ANN SEARS as Thelma
MARIO ZOPPELINI as Waiter
JAY NEIL as Detective
BRENT OLDFIELD as Boy With Gun
ROLF LEFEBVRE as Narrator