Michael Jayston has a remarkable way with subtle changes to his voice; I have been familiar with his acting work since I lived in England in the 1960s. I watched him in the original BBC production of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, where he played Guillam. In this reading of Smiley's People, his vocal work as the excitable Pole Toby Esterhaze is memorable. He gets JUST the right amount of twisted English to reflect the man's origins even though he has lived in England for many years. And his voice for George Smiley is perfect. One can see Alec Guiness's face (the original Smiley of the BBC classic) as Jayston speaks his lines.
The VOICES which are perfect!!
The reading is extraordinary. Jill Balcom is a fine actress; I watched her on the BBC when I was growing up in London. She manages to differentiate between characters with just slight inflections and changes to her voice. She gets the accents and intonations SO well.
I don't have a favorite character. They are all so finely drawn and developed from the first of the chronicles and grow up or age wonderfully.
I mentioned this attribute in the first section: her ability to give each character a personality. One gets to know the people by their voices.
So much of the series reminds me of my growing up in London during the 50s, and from what my mother told me, of life during the war in England. So many of the things in the book, from food to specifically British things like Harrington squares (terry cloth outer diapers) bring back my childhood. Even the streets where they lived are in my neighborhood! And musicians are mentioned that I knew. Extraordinary.
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