Restless (TV series)

Restless is a 2012 British TV adaptation of William Boyd's espionage novel Restless (2006). Directed by Edward Hall, the film features Hayley Atwell, Rufus Sewell, Michelle Dockery, Michael Gambon and Charlotte Rampling. The two parts first aired on 27 and 28 December 2012 on BBC One.

Written byWilliam Boyd
Directed byEdward Hall
Composer(s)Lorne Balfe
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes2
  • Hilary Bevan Jones
  • Paul Frift
Running time90 minutes
Production company(s)Endor Productions
Original networkBBC One
Picture format16:9 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release27 December (2012-12-27) 
28 December 2012 (2012-12-28)


Part One

The first episode opens in the 1970s with Ruth Gilmartin, a PhD student at St Johns College, Cambridge, driving with her young son to visit her mother in her country cottage. When she arrives her mother, Sally Gilmartin, is nervous and believes that men are watching her from the nearby woods. Ruth mocks her mother's fears. Sally then hands her a notebook with the name "Eva Delectorskaya" on the front, and informs her daughter that this is her real name.

The action then moves to Paris in 1939. Eva, as a young woman, is shown with her brother. The family has recently arrived in Paris from their native Russia. After leaving Eva, her brother is kicked to death in the street by a gang of men. After the funeral, Eva is approached by an Englishman whom she had earlier seen talking to her brother. He introduces himself as Lucas Romer and gives Eva a business card for the company "AAS Ltd".

Later Eva returns to the flat she shares with her father and finds Lucas there. Lucas tells her that he is a British spy and her brother was working for him. He tells Eva that war is imminent and that he wants her to become a spy like her brother. Eva is initially reluctant but then agrees. She is taken to Scotland for training at a country house, where she proves herself extremely capable at memory tests and a survival exercise.

During this period war breaks out. After her training Lucas tells her that they will be working in Belgium. In Ostend Eva is part of a team fabricating fake news stories to be picked up by the Germans. She is then selected to observe an operation in the fictitious Dutch border town of Preslo, the operation goes wrong and results in the death of a Dutch Intelligence Officer and the capture of SIS officers by the German Sicherheitsdienst (SD-Security Service). This was based on the true events of the Venlo Incident.

Part Two

Eva is sent to United States to seduce the married Mason Harding, an adviser to the president, to find out if the Americans intend joining the war, a mission she successfully accomplishes. However a second assignment is to supply a map to American agents supposedly outlining a planned German invasion of the United States via Mexico, but Eva spots errors in the map, informing her spy master and lover Lucas Romer and other colleagues. (Production errors: In this sequence, there is a gratuitous appearance of a British car, a Triumph Roadster. Though the scene is dated around 1940, the car was not produced until 1949. Shortly thereafter, a scene in a New York office shows the model of an airliner, the Lockheed L-188 Electra, which flew first in 1957.)

After Eva survives an attempt to kill her, through serendipitous circumstances the map makes its way to and fools the U.S. president. However, as her fellow spies die one-by- one she knows she has been betrayed, and she escapes into Canada. After the U.S. enters the war, Eva returns to London. She meets with Alfie, the last one of her remaining group, but then she kills him, fearing he also betrayed her. She then attempts to kill Romer after he follows her, but he gets away, and she disappears. In the present, Eva gets Ruth, posing as a journalist interested in wartime espionage, to contact Romer, which allows 'Sally' to follow and locate Romer's home address. The two women pay him a visit and his identity as the traitor is revealed after more than thirty years. Romer, a double-agent for Russia, commits suicide.



The drama was produced by Endor Productions in association with Sundance Channel. It was directed by Edward Hall, and produced by Hilary Bevan Jones and Paul Frift.[1]

The exterior of the club, "Brydges", frequented by Lord Romer, was filmed at Bearwood College in Berkshire.


Adrian Michaels, writing for The Daily Telegraph, praised the first part of the adaptation as "terrific", saying: "There was enough plot development to keep everything ticking along, but at an easy pace that was a welcome change from Scandinavian psychopaths starting a bloodbath every 15 minutes."[2] The first part was also received well by John Crace in The Guardian; he commented on the high production values and compared it to another series featuring Dockery, saying it "was everything [Downton Abbey] isn't: well-acted, well-written, well-paced and well-filmed".[3]


  1. "Hayley Atwell, Rufus Sewell, Michelle Dockery, Michael Gambon and Charlotte Rampling to star in BBC One's adaptation of William Boyd's Restless". BBC Press Office. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  2. Michaels, Adrian (28 December 2012). "Restless, BBC One, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  3. Crace, John (27 December 2012). "TV review: Restless; The World's Most Dangerous Roads; Restoration Man". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
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