|Political thriller, action drama
|Theme music composer
|Country of origin
|BBC Two & BBC HD
|Turks & Caicos
Page Eight is a 2011 British political thriller, written and directed for the BBC by the British dramatist David Hare, his first film as director since the 1989 film Strapless. The cast includes Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Michael Gambon, Tom Hughes, Ralph Fiennes, and Judy Davis. The film was followed by Turks & Caicos (2014) and Salting the Battlefield (2014), which were broadcast on BBC Two in March 2014. The three films are collectively known as The Worricker Trilogy.
Johnny Worricker is a long-serving MI5 officer. His best friend and superior, director general Benedict Baron, summons Johnny to a meeting with MI5 agent Jill Tankard and Home Secretary Anthea Catcheside regarding a potentially explosive report. Worricker highlights a note at the foot of page eight alleging that Prime Minister Alec Beasley has knowledge of secret overseas prisons where American authorities have tortured terror suspects. If true, Beasley did not share any intelligence gained with the security services, at the possible expense of British lives.
At the same time, Johnny begins spending time with his neighbour Nancy Pierpan, a Syrian-born political activist whose brother was killed by the Israeli military. Johnny shares his love of modern art and jazz with Nancy but, wondering if she aims to exploit his connections, asks friend and covert intelligence operative Rollo to investigate her. Meanwhile, Baron dies of a heart attack at his country home before he can make the report public. Beasley orders the report to be buried and tells Johnny of his plans to replace MI5 with a US-style Homeland Security organisation. Catcheside's silence is bought by naming her Deputy Prime Minister.
Johnny sells a valuable Christopher Wood painting from his own art collection, for cash. He breaks into the studio of an acquaintance of Nancy's, seen loitering around the apartment building, and learns that the acquaintance is Tankard's son and has been paid to monitor him. Johnny realises that Beasley and Tankard are running a politicised "cowboy" intelligence operation. Johnny gives Nancy a copy of the secret file on her brother's death but points out that he would be implicated if its existence were to be revealed by her. Johnny ends up making a deal with Tankard to keep quiet about the report. In return for Johnny's silence, Tankard agrees to kill the reorganisation of the intelligence services and leak the file on Nancy's brother's murder to the BBC. The fallout forces Johnny to disappear for his safety.
Johnny gives Nancy another Christopher Wood painting from his collection and tells her she can have his car, as he is leaving the country. On seeing the leaked report of her brother's murder on the news, she realises that Johnny arranged it to allow her to pursue a legal case against the Israelis without implicating himself. At Stansted Airport, Johnny dumps the original report incriminating Beasley in a rubbish bin. As Johnny looks at the departure screen, Nancy looks closely at Johnny's painting, of a church near a beach.
Parts were filmed in Jesus College, Cambridge, in which undergraduates and Fellows were recruited as extras.
The gallery scene where Worricker sells his painting is filmed in Saffron Walden; the property used as the gallery is on the corner of Church Street and Museum Street, number 26a and 28 Church Street. It is a listed building.
Worricker then collects his parked car from Market Hill in that town outside the Kings Arms public house.
The film had its world premiere on 18 June 2011 at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and closed the 36th Toronto International Film Festival on 17 September 2011. It was broadcast on BBC Two and BBC HD on 28 August 2011 in the United Kingdom, and on PBS in the United States on 6 November 2011, as part of its Masterpiece Contemporary anthology series. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 5 September 2013 by Universal Pictures.
At the 2011 Satellite Awards, Page Eight was nominated for Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television. Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz were nominated for Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television and Best Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television, respectively.
Bill Nighy received a nomination for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards.
Martin Ruhe, Page Eight's Director of Photography, won Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Motion Picture/Miniseries Television at the 26th American Society of Cinematographers Awards.
Page Eight received a nomination nod for Best TV Movie at the 2012 Rose d’Or TV Festival.
At the 2012 British Academy Television Awards, Page Eight was nominated for the Single Drama Award.
Paul Englishby was nominated for Best Television Soundtrack at the 2012 Ivor Novello Awards.
At the 2012 Critics' Choice Television Awards, Page Eight was nominated for Best Made for TV Movie/Mini Series, while Bill Nighy was nominated for Best Actor.
At the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards, Judy Davis received a nomination nod in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, while Paul Englishby won for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.