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tv   Meet the Author  BBC News  April 29, 2018 7:45pm-8:01pm BST

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also sebastien did a greatjob. i think i was ready fortunate today, so it feels a little bit odd to be appear that i have got to take it. i didn't give up, i kept pushing, but an untidy race from me. in rugby union, wasps secured a play—off spot and climbed to third—place after a 36—29 win over northampton. christian wade opened the scoring for wasps, before adding a second — his 12th try of the season. saints responded through mitchell and tuala but fell short, as wasps sealed a bonus point win. in the day's other game — london irish, who's relegation to the championship was confirmed yesterday, were thrashed 51—14 by saracens — a result that guarantees saracens a home semi—final in the play offs. britain's chris and gabby adcock have defended their european badminton title with a closely—fought victory over the danish seconds seeds. the adcocks, recently crowned commonwealth games champions, beat mathias christiansen and christinna pedersen by two sets to one — taking the decider 21—18, in a match that lasted 66 minutes. they are the first english duo to defend a european title successfully for 32 years. at the world snooker championship,
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four—time winnerjohn higgins has booked his place in the quarterfinals. it could hardly have been easierfor him, cruising through against jack lisowski 13 frames to i. higgins made three centuries, including a magnificent 146 break, the highest of this year's competition so far. delighted. that's my highest break ever here at the crucible. i think my highest before was 142 or a3. so it was a good break, good break. i don't know if big ryan day will think that way, i went one point in front of him. there could very well be a maximum break here, so i am not counting my chickens yet. but it is a good break. i expected such a tough game but this place can do it. in one of my sessions with stephen hendry i lost 7—1 was exactly the same.
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the harderjack was trying, i think the worse it was getting to him. live to the crucible, this is a match between judd live to the crucible, this is a match betweenjudd trump, the former finalist, and ricky walden. 4—1; is the score. that is how it was after the score. that is how it was after the morning session, the strain has been going on for some time. it looks fairly routine now, it wasn't earlier, all of the reds bunched in one corner. at the moment, 4—4. you can one corner. at the moment, 4—4. you ca n follow one corner. at the moment, 4—4. you can follow it on bbc two or on the bbc sport website. that's all from sportsday. now it is time for meet the author. his first codename was orphan, a man on his own. but in donald maclean, the soviet union had recruited one
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of the best spies it ever had in the west. his name, along with guy burgess and kim philby, became a byword for determined treachery. admired by his colleagues as a meticulous and brilliant diplomat, he was also a convinced ideologue — but one with a wayward, carousing spirit. decades after his flight to moscow in 1951, we are still dealing with what roland philipps describes as the "enigma" of donald maclean, in his revelatory new biography, a spy named orphan. the enigma. we are so familiar with this man, and the cambridge spies. we have read the story so often. what is it that you discovered is still uncertain, still unsaid, still unknown, still waiting
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to be put in front of us? the enigma of donald maclean, to me, was that a man who was an intense patriot and a fabulous civil servant, who went to the top of the foreign office, could at the same time be the single most productive spy of the 1930s and 1940s for moscow. and how he was able to hold those two things in check for most of his life is, to me, the fascination at the centre of it. let's just recap for oui’ younger viewers. he famously fled in 1951 with guy burgess. off they went to moscow. a huge scandal. it was the beginning of the unravelling of the story that ensnared kim philby, in the end. he fled to moscow in the 1960s. but in the period between the 1930s and the early 1950s, donald maclean had been stealing and passing to the russians hundreds and hundreds of documents.
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it was extraordinary. yes, thousands of documents. the most damaging, he served in the british embassy in washington between 19114 and 19118, where he gave away, by no means all that he gave away has been decoded to this day, but he certainly gave away the preparation for the yalta conference that decided the shape of post—war europe. after the war, he had an access all areas pass to the atomic energy commission. he was able to say exactly how many bombs the americans were able to build. and i believe he thereby enabled the soviets to build their own bomb two years ahead of what was expected. he was in on the planning of nato. he gave away absolutely everything, particularly between 19114 and 19118. you say he was a patriot. yet he became an ideological servant of the soviet
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union. after he fled, he didn't show any reluctance to make his life in moscow, to support the soviet union, until the day of his death. how could he hold those two things in balance? i think until the cold war got under way properly, after 1945, he could tell himself he was working for an ally, which russia indeed was. and throughout his life, and also in moscow in the last 30 years of his life, he believed that communism was the only way towards world peace. so in fact, in his mind, his work as a diplomat for britain was not that far away from his ideology in that he believed that peace would be the outcome. we are talking about him now as a man who had enormous self—control and self—discipline. but there was also a side to him which was extraordinarily uncontrolled — wild, drunken binges of a gargantuan nature. absolutely.
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his last drunken binge, when he was in a foreign posting, was in cairo in 1950. he and his great friend philip toynbee drank six bottles of gin before passing out, trashing a us diplomat‘s flat. and yet what struck me as extraordinary was one of the ways i got into the book was through the newly released files, these previously classified files from the national archives, and that simply did not go on his record at all. because they wanted to cover up for a colleague they respected? they respected him. he was a brilliant diplomat, they said he had a watchmaker‘s mind. they wouldn't have believed it of him, and they wanted to cover it up. the other shocking thing, which came out in the files about that particular incident, was that they blamed his american wife. they said, "you know how these
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americans like to hit it up." so there's this extraordinary insular empire view, and his bosses were people of the empire. you have a personal connection, because your grandfather was his boss towards the end. and presumably, like all people in the foreign office, admired him as somebody who could do the job very well? absolutely. and my grandfather went to the very top of the foreign office, he got the equivalent jobs at a much older age than maclean was, which makes me think that maclean certainly would have gone to the top of the foreign office. my grandfather was one of the circle who were told. when they had incontrovertible evidence that he had been spying, he was one of the people who was told, and was told to act as normal. so maclean, who by then was head of the american department in the foreign office — during the korean war, extraordinarily enough — asked for the day off, and my grandfather, who had been told to act as normal, said "of course."
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and that was the day that he escaped to russia. because what the diplomats were not told was that although m15 were watching him, the watchers waved him off at the train every evening when he went home to his house in kent, and they didn't watch him at weekends, because they thought they would be too noticeable in the village where he lived. so although they were told he was being watched, not at all. one of the extraordinary aspects of this book, which is a gripping story, is the role played by his wife melinda, who has been a shadowy figure in previous tellings of this story. as somebody who was there, and presumably betrayed, and her husband just disappeared. you portray it in a very different light, basically saying that she was in on it, if not from the beginning, certainly for most of it?
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yes. i found material where donald maclean said that when he first met her in paris in 1939, that she thought he was rather a dull diplomat, and it was then that he told her he was also working for the communists. and she fell in with that. but after his defection she was very much pitied as the betrayed wife, as you say, the deserted woman with a young family. but the papers that came out of the national archives, which included the telephone wiretaps, indicated that actually she was very much in on the defection. she pretended not to know who this man guy burgess was, who went off with her husband, but the wiretaps showed her lying on the telephone two days after he went, to her mother—in—law, without saying that donald had taken off. so it does paint her in a different light. and of course, several years later she herself went to russia, just after stalin died, when it would have been
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safer for her, and then the establishment were really astonished. why is it that we remain so gripped by this story, the outcome of which we all know? i think it is because it was the first enormous crack in the establishment. that he could do this, which i think is why the establishment also failed to spot him, because they couldn't bear this fact. the fact that he could betray his country so monumentally — we all thought we were being run by people who knew what they were doing. one last question. if he had welcomed you or somebody like you in moscow, and you sat down and had a drink with him, not one of his famous binges butjust an ordinary social drink, what do you think he would have been like?
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i think he would have been quite austere. politically very committed. and socially committed, too. i don't think he would have got many jokes, but i think he would have felt he was a man of enormous integrity and a very, very fascinating figure. roland philipps, author of a spy named orphan: the enigma of donald maclean, thank you very much. thank you. hello, we willjust focus on the weather across eastern england for a moment because tomorrow will be a thoroughly miserable day. how miserable? wet weather works in, strong winds, gale force around eastern coasts,
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and it will feel really quite cold for the time of year as well. normally across south—east england we would be expecting temperatures of around 15 degrees this time of year, but tomorrow there will be large stretches of the day when they are struggling around three orfour celsius. added to that, also some strong winds that will make it feel colder, so winter coats at the ready. this weekend, the pressure has actually been rising across scotland, and as this area of france low—pressure moves forward, it is that which brings us those strong winds, the wet weather working in across east anglia and south—east england. further north and west meanwhile, clearing skies overnight will allow things to get very chilly once again. some patches of frost, notjust in the countryside, it might get down to zero or so around edinburgh too. on monday, those windy conditions with gales around eastern coastal areas and the heavy rain working in as well. this time yesterday, i was suggesting the rain could be a bit further east than we were predicting yesterday, and it is, about100 miles further eastwards now. that trend could continue, so the likely areas to see the heavy rain will be across east anglia and south—east england, some areas will pick up 25—35mm,
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up to 80 millimetres of rain, bearing in mind we have already have the months worth of rain so far, it will work out to be a very wet month. those temperatures will struggle to rise too. the rest of the uk has sunny spells, temperatures into double figures. tuesday, the low—pressure still with us but the rain band so a slice of sunshine for scotland, england and wales, then later in the afternoon, the clouds thickened as the next atlantic weather front moves in to bring some afternoon rain. that will push eastwards as we go through tuesday evening and overnight, for wednesday it will slowly clear away from eastern england, sunshine will follow, and some showers. we don't need to worry about any snow, but there will be heavy and thundery showers coming through. temperatures continue to rise a little bit but still below par for the time of year, highs between 11 and 1a. and
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this is bbc news. the headlines at 8pm: north korea's president promises to close its main nuclear test site, and invites the world to watch — according to south korea. us secretary of state mike pompeo uses his first diplomatic trip to the middle east to accuse iran of destabilising the region. facing calls to resign, home secretary amber rudd will address parliament tomorrow as the fallout from the windrush scandal continues. us comedian michelle wolf is under fire over remarks made at the white house correspondents dinner directed at president trump's press secretary, sarah sanders also in the next hour — rescuing the reef — australia pledges to protect one of the world's underwater treasures. the canberra goverment promises to spend £290 million on restoring and preserving the great barrier reef


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