Ben Whishaw plays a young man drawn into the world of espionage when his mysterious new lover is murdered in BBC2’s new five-part thriller London Spy. What’s On TV’s Nick Cannon visited the set to catch up with the actor who’s currently starring as Q in the James Bond film Spectre…
Tell us about your London Spy character, Danny…
“Danny’s been in this world of clubbing, taking drugs and having fleeting encounters that don’t last. He’s sick of that world and sick of his life, which is how we discover him.”
But things change when he falls for the mysterious Alex (Edward Holcroft)…
“Yes, Danny’s life changes forever when he meets Alex, who’s out jogging early one morning as Danny’s leaving a club. Alex is a maths genius and there’s an innocence about him that ignites something in Danny. It’s the first time Danny’s had somebody. It’s a very loving relationship.”
Then Danny’s world is shattered when Alex is found murdered. What happens?
“It turns out Alex isn’t who Danny thought he was. As more and more details emerge of what Alex was like and the real circumstances of his life, Danny begins to wonder if he really knew Alex at all. He has all these questions that need answering.”
Danny gets drawn into the shadowy world of espionage, doesn’t he? Does he feel out of his depth?
“Yeah he does, but he doesn’t give up. It would be easy to and he wants to, but he’s persistent and dogged. He’s lost everything – it’s awful what happens to him – so his only option is to keep going.”
The only person willing to help Danny find out the truth about Alex is his old friend Scottie, played by Jim Broadbent. What’s their relationship like?
“It’s really lovely. It’s the sort of relationship you don’t see portrayed very often – a platonic but loving relationship between two gay men. There are unrequited feelings on Scottie’s side that Danny’s aware of and Danny plays with those feelings sometimes, but there’s also lot of respect and tenderness between them.”
Later in the series, Danny has a full-on snog with Scottie. What was that like?
“I’ve kissed Jim before, actually, in a film called Cloud Atlas. It’s a delightful thing!”
Charlotte Rampling also appears in the drama from episode two. What was it like working with her?
“She’s a very key character and, like most people in the show, she’s not what she first appears. As with Jim, it was a delight and privilege working with her. I love her – she’s amazing!”
London Spy premieres on BBC2 on Monday, November 9 at 9pm