A radio play
by Tom Stoppard
, dating from 1982, and concerning a secret agent
(a theme he understandably keeps coming back to) who is a double agent
worked by both the British and the Russian secret service
s, and who is now coming up to retirement
age. He imagines the gold watch
, the sherry
party, the dacha
on the Vistula
... hang on.
Purvis has now been passing on secrets that his handlers want him to pass on, half of which have to be true in order for his cover not to be blown, to both sides, for so long that he can no longer work out which side he actually believes in, and realizes that he might as well not have done any of it. He throws himself off Chelsea Bridge, but hits a passing barge and kills a dog.
When he recovers he is questioned about the bizarre allegations he had put in his suicide note, concerning his own chief. He is pensioned off into a kind of clifftop retirement home for befuddled spies, where everyone is mad and claims to be the director, and the real director has real bats in his belfry. This leads up to possibly my favourite bit of the play, the following, which in context makes perfect sense:
BLAIR: That wasn't you. Burnt my fingers pulling Pamela's chestnuts out of the fire, nearly knocked my Hilderson lantern clock off the mantel and got kicked by the donkey for my pains.
PURVIS: I'm awfully grateful to you for coming. It's impossible to have a sensible conversation with anyone in this place.