Cambridge Spies

Watch Cambridge Spies

  • 2003
  • 1 Season
  • 7.4  (2,171)

Cambridge Spies is a gripping British television miniseries that first aired on BBC Four in 2003, and is now available to stream on BritBox. Over the course of four episodes, the show tells the story of four young men who meet at Cambridge University in the 1930s and become entangled in a web of espionage and betrayal that will shape the course of their lives and the fate of their country.

The series is based on the true story of the Cambridge Five, a notorious group of Soviet spies that operated within the upper echelons of the British establishment during the Cold War. The four main characters are Guy Burgess (Tom Hollander), Donald MacLean (Toby Stephens), Kim Philby (Rupert Penry-Jones), and Anthony Blunt (Samuel West), all of whom were members of the Cambridge University secret society, the Apostles.

Burgess is a charming and flamboyant figure, with a taste for the finer things in life and a fondness for alcohol and parties. MacLean is quieter and more reserved, a brilliant scholar with a fierce intellect and a talent for languages. Philby is suave and sophisticated, a ladies' man with a keen mind and a gift for deceit. Blunt, meanwhile, is a respected art historian and curator, with a reputation for impeccable taste and refinement.

As the series begins, the four men are all struggling to find their place in the world. Burgess is working as a BBC radio producer, MacLean is a Foreign Office diplomat, Philby is a newspaper correspondent, and Blunt is a minor royal who spends his time organizing exhibitions at Buckingham Palace.

But when the Spanish Civil War breaks out in 1936, the four men find themselves drawn to the Communist cause, seeing it as a way to fight against fascism and inequality. They soon become involved in a network of espionage, passing secrets to the Soviet Union and working to undermine British interests.

The series deftly interweaves the personal and professional lives of the four spies, showing the complexities of their relationships and the forces that drive them. We see Burgess and his lover, Jack Hewit (played by Alex Jennings), struggling to maintain their relationship in the face of societal disapproval and Burgess's own recklessness. We see MacLean's wife, Melinda (played by Anna-Louise Plowman), feeling increasingly isolated and neglected as her husband becomes more and more consumed by his work. We see Philby juggling multiple affairs, all the while keeping up the façade of a loyal British subject. And we see Blunt, haunted by his own demons and struggling to reconcile his love for art with his commitment to communism.

The series is beautifully shot, with stunning locations and period costumes that transport the viewer back to the 1930s and 1940s. The acting is uniformly superb, with Hollander, Stephens, Penry-Jones, and West all delivering nuanced and compelling performances.

Cambridge Spies is a fascinating and gripping look at one of the most infamous spy rings in history, and the personal and political forces that drove its members. Whether you're a fan of historical dramas, spy thrillers, or character-driven storytelling, this series is not to be missed.

Cambridge Spies is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (4 episodes). The series first aired on May 9, 2003.

Cambridge Spies
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Episode 4
4. Episode 4
May 30, 2003
During the Cold War, Maclean is passing atomic energy information to his Soviet contact. Burgess becoming increasingly self-destructive.
Episode 3
3. Episode 3
May 23, 2003
Chronicling the story of the most infamous double agents in British history. Anthony Blunt is sent to Germany to retrieve sensitive documents.
Episode 2
2. Episode 2
May 16, 2003
Benedict Cumberbatch appears in this second episode of Cambridge Spies. The group go underground as part of the establishment: Blunt is close to the royal family, Maclean joins the Foreign Office, Burgess is in MI5 and Philby is a journalist.
Episode 1
1. Episode 1
May 9, 2003
At Cambridge in the 1930s, don Anthony Blunt and student Guy Burgess recruit fellow students Kim Philby and Donald Maclean to fight fascism by spying for Soviet Russia.
Where to Watch Cambridge Spies
Cambridge Spies is available for streaming on the BritBox website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Cambridge Spies on demand at Amazon Prime and Tubi TV.
  • Premiere Date
    May 9, 2003
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (2,171)